Kentucky Derby Ratings Decline From 2017; Highest Rated Saturday Show Since Olympics

by | 05.06.2018 | 8:01pm

Ratings for Saturday's NBC Sports telecast of the 144th Kentucky Derby fell by 13 percent from 2017, due largely to head-to-head competition with an NBA playoff game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. There was no NBA game competing with the 2017 Kentucky Derby telecast.

For the one-hour portion of the five-hour telecast devoted to the Derby race itself, won by the Bob Baffert-trained Justify, NBC reported a 9.1 Nielsen rating and 21 percent share. That's down from a 10.5 rating and 23 share in 2017 and also lower than the 9.4/21 in 2016 when there was competition from an NBA playoff game.

It was the lowest overnight rating for the Derby since the 9.0 registered in 2012, according to Sports Media Watch.

Nevertheless, the Derby telecast had the highest overnight rating for any Saturday TV show this year since NBC's PyeongChang Olympics on Feb.17, according to an NBC Sports publicist.

Derby viewership peaked at 10.9/25 from 6:45-7 p.m. during the race.

NBC's Kentucky Derby telecast has posted 9.0 or higher overnight ratings for 12 consecutive years.

Each ratings points represents 1 percent of the total television households, while the share equals the percentage of televisions in use turned to that specific telecast. The ratings are for television only and do not include online streaming.

Some of hte top markets measured in the overnight ratings:

1 – Louisville 37.2/62
2 – Ft. Meyers 20.0/36
3 – Cincinnati 19.8/36
4 – Knoxville 17.8/32
5 – Pittsburgh 16.4/33
6 – Buffalo 15.9/32
7 – New Orleans 14.3/25
8 – West Palm Beach 14.1/28
9 – Tampa 13.4/27
10 – Orlando 13.1/28

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