The Nielsen Company on Nov. 6 reported that the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Classic received a 2.0 national rating on NBC, attracting 3.1 million viewers to the hour-long program that ran from 8-9 p.m. EDT. The ratings and viewership nearly doubled from last year’s presentation of the Classic on ESPN, which drew a 1.0 rating and 1.6 million viewers.
By comparison, Zenyatta’s final race in 2010 at Churchill Downs drew a ratings bonanza of 2.5 and 4.1 million viewers on ESPN.
The remainder of the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup card, which was televised by the NBC Sports Network, averaged 358,000 viewers throughout the day, down significantly from an average of 1.4 million viewers on ESPN in 2011. ESPN has a wider distribution for its signal than does the NBC Sports Network, which reaches some 80,000,000 homes.
On Friday, Nov. 2, the first day of the Breeders’ Cup event, NBC Sports Network averaged 178,000 viewers, down from an average of 334,000 viewers a year ago on ESPN2.
The New York market was excluded from the ratings because of lingering power outages in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
The highest-rated markets for the Breeders’ Cup included Pittsburgh (5.0), Cincinnati (4.7), Fort Myers (4.1), Buffalo (3.9), Indianapolis (3.8), Albuquerque (3.7), Detroit (3.6), Milwaukee (3.6), Louisville (3.4), and Phoenix (3.3).