NBC reported April 15 that its three-program “Road to the Kentucky Derby” television series drew 37% more viewers than the comparable programs last year. The first broadcast, on NBC sister network USA, featured the Louisiana Derby and Lane’s End Stakes (both gr. II); the next two shows were on NBC, one showing the Wood Memorial Stakes and Santa Anita Derby (both gr. I), and the most recent being the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby (both gr. I).
The three broadcasts this year averaged 1.17-million viewers, compared to last year’s average of 853,000 viewers. In 2009, NBC telecast one of the three programs, while the other two aired on ESPN2.
This year’s series was produced in partnership by NBC Sports and Churchill Downs Inc. The audience for this year’s programs was 52% female and 48% male, a significant change from a year ago, when 60% of the viewers were male.