* NBC's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) broadcast earned the event's second-highest rating since 1996--a 7.1 national rating/18 share and a total of 16.5 million people watched all or part of the telecast from 5-6:45 p.m. ET, according to NBC Sports Research. NBC's inaugural Derby coverage in 2001 generated an 8.1/21, the highest Kentucky Derby rating since 1992.
NBC Sport's coverage of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) earned a final rating of 7.6 and captured 21% of the viewing audience. The rating was highest since 1989 when Easy Goer's victory over Sunday Silence, who was seeking the Triple Crown title, earned an 8.5.The entire Visa Triple Crown series earned a collective rating of 6.8 and an 18% market share, according to Nielsen Media Research. The rating was 11% higher than the 6.1/17 share earned by last year's series, which was the first year NBC took over coverage of the Triple Crown from ABC. This year's combine rating also was the highest since 1990 when the three races averaged 7.5/21 share on ABC."These numbers underscore the continuing re-emergence of Thoroughbred horse racing and the Visa Triple Crown in particular," said Ken Schanzer, president of NBC Sports. "Obviously having a Triple Crown contender was critically important in the rating for the Belmont, but that shouldn't obscure the fact that the Triple Crown has demonstrated significant increases over the last two years. We're excited about the Thoroughbred racing prospects in the future."Following are highlights from the 2002 Visa Triple Crown coverage:* NBC Sports Research estimates that 18 million people watched all or part of the Belmont telecast that ran from 5-6:45 p.m. on June 8. The rating was 69% higher than last year's Belmont, which earned a 4.5/13 share, and was 27% than the last Triple Crown attempt in 1999 by Charismatic, which earned a 6.0/17 share on ABC.* Coverage of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 18 generated a 5.7/14 share for a 5-6:45 p.m. telecast. The rating was the highest since 1990's 7.2/21 on ABC. The 5.7 rating was 2% higher than last year's 5.6/16. A total of 13 million people watched all or part of the Preakness, according to NBC Sports Research.