NBC 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: (more…)