05/24/2011 10:17AM

Final Preakness TV ratings show increase


Despite initial figures indicating that ratings for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes broadcast on NBC were down, the final viewership figures released Tuesday by the network showed instead that more viewers watched the television program this year than last year.

According to the network, the broadcast was watched by 8.8 million viewers, up 5 percent over last year’s viewership of 8.4 million. The viewership numbers are calculated by Nielsen, the ratings company that provides data to the networks.

The final rating for the race portion of the two-hour and 45-minute broadcast, from 6 p.m. Eastern to 6:45, was a 5.6, NBC said, up 6 percent from a 5.3 rating last year. Share, which measures the percentage of televisions tuned to the broadcast, was static at a 13.

On Monday, NBC said that the overnight rating for the race portion of the broadcast was a 6.0, down 6 percent from the 6.4 overnight rating for the racing portion of the broadcast last year. Overnight ratings measure the numbers in the country’s largest markets, while final ratings and viewership numbers include measurements from smaller markets.

The viewership figure made the Preakness the second-most watched Preakness in the past five years, according to NBC’s figures. The most-watched Preakness of the past five years was the 2009 edition of the race, won by the filly Rachel Alexandra, the eventual Horse of the Year.