Derby Telecast Viewership Largest Since 1989

Derby Telecast Viewership Largest Since 1989
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
NBC Sports

NBC Sports' coverage of the 143rd Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) May 6 at Churchill Downs posted numerous viewership milestones according to fast national data provided by The Nielsen Company and digital data from Adobe Analytics. 

Always Dreaming's victory in the Kentucky Derby posted a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) average of 16.5 million viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital platforms, marking the largest Kentucky Derby audience since 1989 (18.5 million viewers for Sunday Silence's win on ABC).

TAD measures consumption across multiple platforms, combining the average minute audience for television and digital.

Following are viewership highlights from the Kentucky Derby
TV-only Kentucky Derby viewership peaked at 19.1 million viewers from 6:45-7:00 p.m. ET when Always Dreaming crossed the finish line 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Lookin at Lee, up 7% from the peaks of the past two Kentucky Derby races, won by Nyquist   in 2016 and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah   in 2015 (17.9 million for both).

The 143rd Kentucky Derby (6:24-7:11 p.m. ET) on NBC averaged 16.4 million TV-only viewers with a 9.3/22 HH rating, up 6% and 3% respectively from last year.

Saturday's Kentucky Derby is television's most-watched Saturday afternoon program since the NFC Divisional Playoff (Jan. 14, 2017). 

This is the fifth consecutive year and seventh time in nine years (2009, 2010, 2013-17) that NBC's Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers. NBC's five-year streak (2013-17) averaging more than 15 million viewers is the only such Kentucky Derby stretch in People Meter history.

NBC Sports Digital's presentation of the Kentucky Derby ranks as the most-streamed Kentucky Derby ever, delivering 9 million minutes, up 30% from last year. The stream also delivered a record 281,000 unique users. The average minute audience (AMA) for the Kentucky Derby via the NBC Sports app and NBCSports.com was 97,800 viewers.

Louisville, the home of the Kentucky Derby, topped the metered markets with a 39.0 rating/65 share.

KENTUCKY DERBY VIEWERSHIP (*TV + Digital)
2017    16.543 million*    NBC    Always Dreaming
2016    15.6 million*    NBC    Nyquist
2015    16.1 million*    NBC    American Pharoah
2014    15.3 million    NBC    California Chrome
2013    16.2 million    NBC    Orb
2012    14.8 million            NBC    I'll Have Another
2011    14.5 million            NBC    Animal Kingom
2010    16.498 million     NBC    Super Saver
2009    16.1 million            NBC    Mine That Bird
2008    14.2 million            NBC    Big Brown
2007    13.7 million            NBC    Street Sense
2006    12.9 million            NBC    Barbaro
2005    13.6 million            NBC    Giacomo
2004    14.6 million            NBC    Smarty Jones
2003    11.8 million            NBC    Funny Cide
2002    12.8 million            NBC    War Emblem
2001    13.5 million            NBC    Monarchos
2000    9.1 million              ABC    Fusaichi Pegasus
1999    9.9 million              ABC    Charismatic
1998    9.5 million              ABC    Real Quiet
1997    11.3 million            ABC    Silver Charm
1996    11.0 million            ABC    Grindstone
1995     9.3 million              ABC    Thunder Gulch
1994    12.2 million            ABC    Go For Gin
1993    11.5 million            ABC    Sea Hero
1992    13.7 million            ABC    Lil E Tee
1991    13.4 million            ABC    Strike The Gold
1990    15.6 million            ABC    Unbridled
1989    18.5 million            ABC    Sunday Silence

TOP METERED MARKETS FOR 2017 KENTUCKY DERBY (Race Portion)
1.    Louisville    39.0/65
2.    Ft. Myers    21.3/39
3.    Cincinnati    18.8/37
4.    Buffalo    17.9/31
5.    Knoxville    17.0/28
6.    Dayton    16.2/29
7.    Pittsburgh    15.5/30
8.    Cleveland    15.1/29
9.    Richmond    15.0/29
10.    West Palm Beach    14.8/27
11.    Columbus    14.6/28
12.    Indianapolis    14.0/27
13.    Baltimore    13.5/28
14.    Greenville    13.2/21
15.    Philadelphia    13.0/24
16.    Orlando    12.7/25
T17.    Milwaukee    12.5/28
T17.    Nashville    12.5/21
19.    Washington, DC    12.4/26
20.    Detroit    12.2/24

Most Popular Stories