Breeders' Cup Overnight TV Ratings Up 5%

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.

The championship, held Oct. 26 at Arlington Park, earned a 2.2 rating and captured 5% of the viewing audience. Last year, the overnight rating was 2.1 with a 5% market share. The overnight rating reflects the viewing habits of people in 55 metered markets with each rating point representing 735,000 households.

As it does every year, interest throughout NBC's five-hour telecast escalated toward the Classic (gr. I) and peaked at 5:30 p.m. with a rating of 3.0 and 6% market share. The post time of the $4 million race was 5:40 p.m. EDT. The lowest incremental rating of 1.9 was hit at 1 p.m., when the NBC telecast started, and again at 2 p.m. right before the start of the Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).

"All things considered it was not a bad showing," said Cameron Blanchard, spokeswoman for NBC Sports. "We don't get into the practice of predicting ratings, but looking at the competing schedule going in and seeing one game with an undefeated team like Notre Dame and the strong rivalry of Kentucky and Georgia, you knew it would be tough. We were pleased that we not only retained our rating from last year but increased it."

The Notre Dame-Florida State game aired from noon to 3:30 p.m. EDT on ABC, ending right before the Filly and Mare Turf (gr. I) started, and earned an overnight rating of 6.8 and a 16% market share. The game was followed by four regional college games, the most popular of which was between Ohio State and Penn State that earned a 7.6 rating a 16% market share.

The Kentucky-Georgia game on CBS had strong pull particularly in Louisville, which usually delivers one of the strongest ratings for an individual market. The Breeders' Cup did a 3.2 rating and 7% market share in Louisville compared with the football game that did a 12.2 rating and a 25% market share. The Kentucky-Georgia game aired at 3:30-7:15 p.m. EDT and earned a collective overnight rating of 2.6 and a 5% market share.

Chicago reported the largest single market rating with a 4.5 and 10% market share. Other top cities included San Antonio (3.7/7 share), Sacramento (3.6/9 share) and Boston (3.4/8 share).