National television ratings for the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) held strong in the nation’s cities, helping NBC Sports register a 9.0 rating and a 20 share, up 6% from year-ago figures, according to data provided by The Nielsen Company.
The share indicates the percentage of televisions in use that were tuned into the race. Last year’s share was 19.
The 9 rating translates to 14.8 million viewers who watched I'll Have Another win the 138th edition of the Derby from Churchill Downs in Louisville, up from 14.5 million in 2011. That is a bump of 2% for the race portion of the telecast from 6:06-6:54 p.m. EDT.
The 14.8 million viewers represented the third-highest number in the past 23 years. Sunday Silence’s 1989 Derby victory ws watched by 18.5 million viewers, while Mine That Bird’s 2009 Derby (16.3 million) and Super Saver ’s 2010 Derby (16.5 million) were the others that rated higher than this year’s edition.
NBC also reported that 51% of the Derby viewers age 18 and over were women, making it the only annual sporting event that draws more female than male viewers.
The highest rated markets for the 2012 Kentucky Derby were Louisville (31.7/59); Cincinnati, Ohio (18.3/37); and Ft. Myers, Fla. (17.0/31).