NBC is reporting a Nielsen overnight household rating of 8.1 and a 19 share for its June 9 coverage of Justify completing the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) at Belmont Park, numbers the network expects to rank as the weekend's top television event.
While the Belmont performed well for the weekend, ratings numbers were down from the most recent year that a Triple Crown was on the line. When American Pharoah completed the Triple Crown with his 2015 Belmont victory, that NBC broadcast averaged a 12.3 overnight household rating and 27 share.
This year's numbers are well up from last year's 3.2 rating for the Belmont won by Tapwrit, when a Triple Crown was not on the line.
NBC's overnight ratings for Saturday's Belmont Stakes peaked at 9.9/23 from 6:45-7 p.m. ET as Justify crossed the finish line to become the second undefeated Triple Crown winner, joining Seattle Slew in that category, in U.S. horse racing history.
The weekend proved to be a light one in terms of major sports events as both the NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup playoffs were completed earlier in the week. Those series were completed in four games and five games, respectively. The June 8 fourth and final game of the NBA Finals drew a 4.4 rating and 18 share, both short of the Belmont ratings and share. The final game of the Stanley Cup drew a 4.98 rating.
A rating is the estimated percentage of all television households tuned to a program in the average minute. A share measures the percent of households using television at the time who are tuned to a specific program.
In addition, NBC reported that 15.3 million viewers were watching NBC's Belmont Stakes broadcast Saturday, called by Larry Collmus.
The full race portion of the telecast (6:22-7:13 p.m. ET) posted a Total Audience Delivery of 12.7 million viewers on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, which will rank as the weekend's most watched event, according to fast national data provided by Nielsen and digital data from Adobe Analytics.
Next week, NBC Sports presents daily live coverage of the Royal Ascot Meeting in Berkshire, England—one of the most prestigious horse racing meets in the world—highlighted by the first-ever U.S. broadcast coverage of the event June 23 at 9 a.m. ET on NBC. Live coverage of Royal Ascot begins June 19, at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN, with daily telecasts of the full five-day Royal meeting on NBCSN through June 22. In total, NBC Sports Group will present 23 hours of coverage over the five days.
Top markets for NBC's 2018 Belmont Stakes telecast:
1 - Louisville 19.0/36
2 - Ft. Myers 15.2/30
3 - Baltimore 12.7/30
3 - West Palm Beach 12.7/23
5 - Tampa 12.1/26
6 - Columbus 11.5/23
7 - Orlando 11.2/25
7 - Norfolk 11.2/21
7 - Knoxville 11.2/21
10 - Pittsburgh 11.1/24