06/11/2013 10:57AM

Belmont Stakes television ratings down slightly from 2012


The Belmont Stakes broadcast on NBC on Saturday had a final national rating of 4.5 with a share of 11, slightly down from the figures last year but slightly up from the 2011 figures, according to numbers distributed by the network Tuesday.

Comparisons between the Belmont this year and last year are somewhat quirky because of the scratch last year of I’ll Have Another the day before the race. I’ll Have Another had already won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and the run-up to a possible attempt at a Triple Crown boosted interest in the race, even though the horse did not run in the Belmont.

Last year, the national rating was a 4.8 with an 11 share, according to NBC, translating to 7.7 million viewers. Viewership for this year’s broadcast, which ran from 5 to 7 p.m. Eastern, was 7.0 million, NBC said.

In 2011, when a Triple Crown was not on the line, the rating was a 4.3 and the share was a 10, with viewership of 6.8 million, according to NBC.

Overall, viewership for the three Triple Crown races this year was up an average of 7 percent, the network said. Though total annual handle numbers for U.S. races have declined markedly over the past five years, television ratings for the three races of the Triple Crown have been surprisingly resilient, with the Derby broadcast remaining one of the highest rated sports telecasts of the year.