NBC Posts Highest Kentucky Derby Rating in 18 Years

NBC Sports notched its highest Kentucky Derby rating in 18 years as Saturday’s coverage of Super Savers’ win posted a 10.3 overnight rating and a 23 share. Those numbers are the largest since 1992 (10.9/23 on ABC) and represent a 1% gain over last year’s Derby (10.2/22) and a 7% boost from 2008 (9.5/21).

Nielsen’s final viewership and national ratings will be available on Tuesday and are expected challenge last year’s total of 16.3 million viewers as the most-watched Kentucky Derby in two decades.

NBC employed a wide-reaching “Big Event” approach to promoting this year’s Derby and it paid off big time for the network, which registered a 21% ratings boost for the first hour of coverage. The 4-5 p.m. ET hour earned a 3.4 overnight rating vs. a 2.8 for that hour last year.

On May 15, Super Saver and jockey Calvin Borel, who has won three of the last four Kentucky Derbies, will look to take the second leg of the Triple Crown at the Preakness Stakes. NBC’s coverage begins at 4:30 p.m.