05/04/2010 12:00AM

Derby TV ratings level with '09


Saturday's two-hour Kentucky Derby broadcast on NBC received a 9.8 national television rating and a 23 share, according to NBC, figures that were identical to those posted for last year's Derby broadcast.

Like last year, the ratings and share were the highest since 1992. Each ratings point equals approximately 1.5 million households, while share represents the percentage of televisions in use at the time that are tuned to a specific broadcast.

NBC said that data provided by the Nielsen company, which calculates television ratings for networks, had determined that the viewing audience for the Derby was 16.5 million, up from 16.3 million people last year. According to the company, that was the largest audience for a Derby broadcast since 1989, when 18.5 people watched Sunday Silence beat Easy Goer to the wire.

NBC is in the final year of a five-year, $43 million contract to cover the Derby and the Preakness. The network first reached an agreement to broadcast the Derby in 2001. Before that, the Derby had been broadcast on ABC for 19 years.