05/08/2012 2:55PM

Kentucky Derby television viewership posts slight increase in 2012


The race portion of the Kentucky Derby broadcast on NBC on Saturday posted a 9.0 national rating and a 20 share, according to data released by NBC on Tuesday, a slight increase over viewership data from last year’s race.

Compared to other major sporting events, the Derby rating stacks up favorably. This year’s two Final Four games of the NCAA tournament, for example, received ratings of 9.0 and 9.6, with each game also posting a 17 share. Games in the ongoing Stanley Cup playoffs are currently averaging a rating of approximately 1.5.

According to NBC, the Derby data translates into at least 14.8 million viewers of the race portion of the broadcast, up 2 percent compared to the estimated viewership figure of 14.5 million last year This year’s viewership figure would make the race the third most-watched Derby of the past 23 years, NBC said, behind the 2010 and 2009 editions of the race.

Last year, the rating for the final hour of the NBC broadcast was an 8.5 with a 19 share. The rating measures the number of televisions that are tuned to a particular broadcast, while the share measures the percentage of televisions in use that are turned to the broadcast.

On Monday, the overnight rating for the broadcast was down 6 percent compared to the overnight rating for the 2011 broadcast. However, overnight ratings, which measure a sample of the U.S.’s largest television markets, often vary widely from the national ratings, which combine the measurements from all markets in the United States.