Initial Ratings Show Derby TV Audience Increased

Edited from Churchill Downs reports
NBC Sports' broadcast of Smarty Jones' win at the 130th Kentucky Derby on Saturday (5-6:45 p.m. ET) delivered an 8.3 overnight rating and an 18 share -- tying the numbers for NBC's 2001 and 2002 Derby telecasts as the highest-rated since 1992 (9.5/26 on ABC) and giving NBC the three best Kentucky Derby overnight ratings of the past 12 years, according to Nielsen Media Research. The 8.3 rating/18 share represents an 8% improvement over last year's 7.7/17.

The rating peaked at an 11.9/25 from 6-6:30 p.m. ET --representing a 20% gain over last year's 9.9/22 from 6-6:30 p.m. ET when Funny Cide hit the wire -- as Smarty Jones became the first undefeated winner of the Kentucky Derby since Seattle Slew in 1977 and the first winner with a first-time Derby trainer (John Servis) and jockey (Stewart Elliott) since Spectacular Bid in 1979.

The race segment (5:45-6:45 p.m. ET) produced a 10.1/22, up 13% from last year's 8.9/20 (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) while the pre-race (5-5:45 p.m. ET) generated a 6.0/14, 11 percent better than last year's 5.4/13 from 5-5:30 p.m. ET.

The top-rated individual markets for the full telecast were: 1) Louisville 36.9/63
2) Cincinnati 16.7/36
3) Ft. Myers 13.3/26
4) Oklahoma City 12.1/21
5) Jacksonville 11.3/19
6) Tampa 11.1/21
7) West Palm 10.9/24
8) Pittsburgh 10.7/24
Tie-9) Indianapolis 10.6/22
Tie-9) Cleveland 10.6/22
11) St. Louis 10.4/23
Tie-12) Washington 10.3/21
Tie-12) Buffalo10.3/22
Tie-12) Tulsa 10.3/19
Tie-15) Detroit 10.2/19,
Tie-15) Columbus 10.2/23

National ratings for the race segment are expected Tuesday while full telecast nationals are expected Thursday.

Smarty Jones moves on to the second leg of the Visa Triple Crown: the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) from Pimlico Racecourse on Saturday, May 15. NBC's coverage from Baltimore begins at 5 p.m. ET.