Kentucky Derby Gets Highest Ratings Since 1992

By Jessica Rawden 2013-05-05 21:55:14 discussion comments
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Between the NHL playoffs, the NBA playoffs and the MLB regular season, there’s been plenty of sporting events on the television lately. None of them, however, have been able to boast the incredible three minutes of excitement the Kentucky Derby does, and Saturday’s ratings really reflect that. The legendary horse race attracted a massive audience, even by its own standards.

NBC Sports Network began televising coverage for the race on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET with a pre-race show. According to THR, the Louisville horse race this year did quite well in the ratings, bringing in numbers that were 16% higher than those the race brought in last year. Additionally, the network earned a 10.4 rating, which is a huge ratings share. The last time The Kentucky Derby did better than that market share was in 1992. That year, Lil E Tee won the big race and ABC’s coverage earned a 10.9 market share.

Even the pre-show crushed on Saturday, with ratings for that coverage bumping up 15% from 2012. There’s no clear reason in terms of a particularly buzzed about horse or increased promotions work ahead of the event to explain the massive jump, but no doubt executives for both NBC and the Kentucky Derby will examine every little detail during the lead-up to figure out what may have changed. For the sake of the upcoming Preakness and Belmont Stakes Races, hopefully the jump corresponds to an increased interest in the sport of horseracing.

We’ll let you know how those events fare when the numbers become available. Until then, here’s to hoping yesterday’s horse winner, Orb, will at least flirt with the Triple Crown.

Photo credit @jkirsh /
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