The overnight rating for this year's Derby was down a bit from last year's figure, but the Derby was the highest-rated sports program of the weekend.
Despite heavy competition from a high-scoring Notre Dame-Florida State college football game, the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships managed a 5% increase in its overnight television rating.
NBC Sport's coverage of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) earned a final rating of 7.6 and captured 21% of the viewing audience. The rating was highest since 1989 when the race earned an 8.5.
NBC Sports coverage of the 127th Preakness Stakes Saturday generated a 6.5 overnight rating and 15 share (5-6:45 p.m. ET), the highest overnight rating for the Preakness since 1990's 7.8/20 on ABC, according to Nielsen Media Research.
NBC Sports' debut broadcast of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) attracted 40 percent more viewers than a year ago. The national rating for the 5 p.m. to 6:42 p.m. program earned an 8.1 rating and captured 21 percent of viewers compared with last year when the Derby earned a 5.8 rating and a 17 percent market share. The rating is the highest since 1992 when the Derby earned a national rating of 8.9 and a 26 percent market share. Each rating point currently represents slightly more than one million households.
ESPN's coverage of the Three Chimneys Spinster Stakes (gr. I) draws more eyes and a higher television rating.
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