140th Kentucky DerbyNBC Sports’ coverage of Saturday’s 140th Kentucky Derby averaged 15.3 million viewers, according to fast national data provided today by Nielsen. California Chrome’s victory in Saturday’s race (6:06-6:52  PM ET) marks the fourth time in six years that NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers. From 1991-2008, average viewership for the first event in horse racing’s Triple Crown did not reach 15 million.

Viewership increased 3% from 2012 (14.8 million for I’ll Have Another’s victory), which was the last time the Kentucky Derby faced head-to-head competition from the NBA Playoffs. NBC’s household rating for the derby — 9.4.22 — is the best Saturday ratings on any network since NBC’s Sochi Olympics coverage on February 15 (9.6/17). Not surprisingly, Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, topped the metered markets with a 37.8 rating/66 share. Here are metered-market numbers for Saturday’s race and the Derby’s viewership numbers over the past 25 years:

KENTUCKY DERBY VIEWERSHIP
2014 15.3 million NBC California Chrome
2013 16.2 million NBC Orb
2012 14.8 million NBC I’ll Have Another
2011 14.5 million NBC Animal Kingom
2010 16.5 million NBC Super Saver
2009 16.1 million NBC Mine That Bird
2008 14.2 million NBC Big Brown
2007 13.7 million NBC Street Sense
2006 12.9 million NBC Barbaro
2005 13.6 million NBC Giacomo
2004 14.6 million NBC Smarty Jones
2003 11.8 million NBC Funny Cide
2002 12.8 million NBC War Emblem
2001 13.5 million NBC Monarchos
2000 9.1 million ABC Fusaichi Pegasus
1999 9.9 million ABC Charismatic
1998 9.5 million ABC Real Quiet
1997 11.3 million ABC Silver Charm
1996 11.0 million ABC Grindestone
1995 9.3 million ABC Thunder Gulch
1994 12.1 million ABC Go For Gin
1993 11.5 million ABC Sea Hero
1992 13.7 million ABC Lil E Tee
1991 13.4 million ABC Strike The Gold
1990 15.6 million ABC Unbridled
1989 18.5 million ABC Sunday Silence

TOP METERED MARKETS FOR 2014 KENTUCKY DERBY (Race Portion)
1. Louisville 37.8/66
2. Ft. Myers 21.3/40
3. West Palm Beach 17.8/31
4. Buffalo 16.8/32
5. Cincinnati 16.7/35
6. Boston 15.5/35
7. Columbus 14.4/31
8. Orlando 14.3/26
T9. Tampa-St. Pete 13.6/25
T9. Indianapolis 13.6/28
11. Knoxville 13.5/26
12. Minneapolis 13.1/33
13. Hartford 13.0/27
T14. Baltimore 12.9/27
T14. Providence 12.9/25
T14. Dayton 12.9/26
17. Milwaukee 12.4/29
T18. Washington, DC 12.2/28
T18. Richmond 12.2/24
T18. Tulsa 12.2/24

True Tea Party
4 months
How convenient. Did anybody else notice this race was staged right around the time the Benghazi emails...
Jed
4 months
NBC seriously needs to cut down on their pre-show coverage as it's just getting boring by the...