KY Derby Draws 16.2M Viewers – 2nd Highest Since 1989

by | 05.07.2013 | 2:12pm

NBC Sports' coverage of Saturday's Kentucky Derby drew 16.2 million viewers, making it the second most-watched Kentucky Derby since 1989. The viewership for the race is up nine percent from last year's Derby (14.8 million), and up 12 percent from the Derby in 2011 (14.5 million), according to official national data provided today by The Nielsen Company.

Utilizing NBC Sports' ‘Big Event Strategy,' three of the last five Kentucky Derby races have recorded at least 16 million viewers.

Saturday's race (6:05-6:53 p.m. ET), won by Orb, is the second most-watched Kentucky Derby dating back to 1989 (18.5 million on ABC), only surpassed by the 2010 Derby won by Super Saver (16.5 million).

The household rating of 9.7/21 is the best since 2010 (9.8/23), and tied 2009 as the second highest-rated Derby since 1992 (10.3/30 on ABC).

The 9.7/21 rating is up eight percent from last year's race (9.0/20) and up 14 percent from 2011 (8.5/19).

The pre-race on NBC (5-6:05 p.m. ET) drew 9.1 million viewers, an increase of 12 percent from last year (8.1 million) and is the second-best pre-race viewership dating back to 1992.

NBC Sports Network's five-hour pre-race show (11 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET) drew 500k viewers, up 19 percent from last year (421k).

MORE PEOPLE WATCH THE DERBY ON NBC: NBC Sports' coverage of the Kentucky Derby over the last 13 races averages more than 2 million more viewers than the previous 12 Kentucky Derby broadcasts on ABC (14.3 million vs.12.0 million, up 19 percent). NBC's average viewership of 14.3 million over the last 13 Kentucky Derby broadcasts is more than six million more than the last six years that ABC aired the Derby (1995-2000).

KENTUCKY DERBY CONTINUES TO BE A HIT WITH FEMALE VIEWERS: The Kentucky Derby once again proved to be very popular with female viewers. In fact, 52 percent of Derby viewers were women, making it the only annual sporting event that draws more female viewers than male viewers.

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

  • if Orb can win the Preakness the Belmont Stakes will smash some records…NYRA and New York City is praying he wins the Preakness…U think???…

  • ziggypop

    FWIW, the country is looking for some good news. Americans would love a hero, and a brilliant athlete does make a country feel good. And despite of what the horse slaughter wants to believe, Americans do love horses…as they should.

    No pressure Shug.

  • I hope NBC gets rid of that clueless blond woman who obviously knew nothing about horse racing and whose attempts at humor went beyond flat. There are a lot of women in horse racing media who would have been so much better –

    • nancy

      And I thought it was just me. I’m venturing to guess it was some NBC exec’s kid studying media communications. (Nepotism Before Competence; Nephews, Brothers, Cousins; take your pick, we had a few of them) I’m glad that NBC is broadcasting a lot more horse-racing, however. I can’t even PAY for a horse-racing channel on cable here in my area. I pay for, and it’s not cheap._

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