Overnight television ratings for the NBC Sports telecast of Saturday's Belmont Stakes from Belmont Park were the lowest of the seven Triple Crown attempts since the network began broadcasting the race in 2001.
The telecast featuring Justify clinching the Triple Crown drew an 8.1 rating and 19 market share, up substantially from the 3.4 rating in 2017 when no Triple Crown was on the line and neither Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming nor Preakness winner Cloud Computing raced.
This year's Kentucky Derby telecast registered a 9.1 rating – the lowest since 2012.
The viewing audience this year was down one-third from 2015 when American Pharoah ended a 37-year drought with his victory in the Belmont. The rating that year was 12.3. Other ratings in years when the Triple Crown was on the line: 10.2 in 2002 (War Emblem); 11.8 in 2003 (Funny Cide); 15.6 in 2004 (Smarty Jones); 10.5 in 2008 (Big Brown), 12.9 in 2014 (California Chrome).
The decline from 2015 to 2018 is almost identical to the ratings fall when the Boston Red Sox ended their 86-year World Series drought in 2004 and then won again in 2007.
Viewership peaked at 9.9 rating/23 share from 6:45-7 p.m. when the race was run. Among local markets measured by A.C. Nielsen, Louisville, Ky., had the highest rating, 19.0, which was down from 24.2 in 2015.
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