05/08/2016 9:55AM

Kentucky Derby TV ratings plummet


The race portion of a three-plus-hour broadcast of the Kentucky Derby on NBC Saturday posted a 9.3 overnight rating, according to the television network, down 14 percent compared with the overnight rating for the same portion of the broadcast last year.

The broadcast, which ran a half-hour beyond its slotted broadcast window because of a long delay in getting horses to the starting gate, had a 21 share, down 12.5 percent from the share last year. Share measures the percentage of televisions in use that are tuned to a broadcast.

This year’s Derby was won by the favorite, the undefeated Nyquist, who had not generated the same buzz among the general public as last year’s favorite, American Pharoah, leading into the Derby. Last year’s Derby overnight rating was the highest since 1992, and it was a 7 percent jump over the rating for the 2014 broadcast.

American Pharoah went on to win the Triple Crown, the first such win in 37 years, and his campaign for the mark led to widespread media coverage of the sport. As a result, some observers have theorized that horse racing is enjoying a surge in popularity known as the “American Pharoah effect,” but that theory would seem to be weakened by this year’s decline in rating for the Derby.

As is typical, the strongest markets for the Derby broadcast were in Louisville, Ky., and surrounding areas, according to figures released by NBC. Rating/share in Louisville was 33.7/62, while the rating/share in Cincinnati was 16.6/33. The broadcast also posted strong numbers in Florida. 


Savino Fazzo More than 1 year ago
NBC has long failed in its actual race coverage. 1) they always delay horses getting to gate. 2). Have guys like Jerry bailey n Tom hammonds, who r very credible analysts, then you to to  sissy Mary broadway show people. 3) NBC refuse to understand. The fans want the side view pan picture. NOT a overhead for 1/4 mile. REEDICULIOUS. C B S plse get back in the game. 
Vincent Spathanas More than 1 year ago
NBC gives you Randy Moss, Laffit Pincay and Hall of Fame Jockey Jerry Bailey who know the Sport of Kings inside and out. The commentary they give is informative to the horse player and educational to those who want to understand more of the game. Then NBC goes to Johnny and Tara... figure skaters who know nothing about the industry. If NBC wants to push the fashion which is actually pretty cool, how's about putting Giselle or Heidi on the red carpet instead !
Matty TheBull More than 1 year ago
Not everyone watches it on NBC so how to get a square count on total screen viewers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maybe it is because they keep pushing the homosexuals on us?
Frank More than 1 year ago
I see more homosexuals on TV then I do in real life?  why is that?  Is the LBGT movement behind this?

And I said the same thing - what is this tulp doing on my TV during racing -- they dont exist in HR!

Alan Mesa More than 1 year ago
I liked the coverage but then I'm  a big events HR fan. 
Those races that TVG transmits on a daily basis are really d.o.a. I wouldn't & couldn't with that if you paid me. HRTV was a much better equestrian channel than what TVG offers all the way around, hands down.
Who wants' to watch  $5K calming races all day on TVG? Not Me!

Frank More than 1 year ago
Hahahaha -- oh gee where are all the new fans -- I thought by AP winning the TC was what HR needed - it was going to bring new fans right????

Last year's Belmont Stakes and BCC were both tailor made for AP (a slap in the face joke) because HR needed a TC and Grand Slam winner right?

Karma -- I love it - HR deserves this decline.

I want Nyquist to win the TC to erase last years walk over of the TC and BCC!  Go Nyquist and to all others -  make him earn it this year!
Thomas Nicholson More than 1 year ago
And "D" O'Neil. Looks about as honest as Grewber on "Machales Navy". Now don't act like you don't know who he is. Come on, our average age is 65 years old ! That tells you why the sport is dying. You should have opened the infield Travers Day of 2015 and let the new fans that this sport desperately needs  the be 20 year olds have fun and want to come back. . No lets cater to phony nickel millionaires who nurse a bottled water and an order of mozzarella sticks for a nine race card. 
Thomas Nicholson More than 1 year ago
20 horse field $33.00 exacta pay-off. Not too much to get excited about. Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey, two of the biggest yes men around the sport. When does Saratoga open again ???????
william More than 1 year ago
Bailey does a fantastic job....maybe it's all a little too complicated for you.  If you would have said Gary Stevens is a talking-head yes man, I'd agree. 
William More than 1 year ago

NBC for its next Derby broadcast should get some MMA fighters or WWE personalities instead to discuss Derby fashion and couture. I think we've heard enough from the ice skaters, so let's try different people entirely from outside the industry to carry the coverage.  Maybe get the McLaughlin Group on to handicap the race...mix things up.

I mean, why have anyone from the horse racing industry on to promote the actual race?  The side show is far more interesting than actually figuring out how to make money on a race where the favorite's 2-1.  

Otherwise, I think NBC should show odd numbered races on main NBC and make viewers click back to NBCSN for even-numbered races to drive ratings to its lesser channel. And CDI could limit its feed to only the cities that it wants, since it had no problem cutting TVG bettors off from the feed for last week.

These moves will ensure that the sport continues to thrive and grow its customer base.

They have two weeks to get these initiatives rolling before the Preakness coverage!

tbhandicappers More than 1 year ago
If I had to watch races the way that NBC shows them with the weird camera angles, overhead shots etc. etc. etc. I would never watch or bet another horse race
Frank More than 1 year ago
wow -- funny -- that was only thing I did like about NBC broadcast -- the camera angles and overhead shots...