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.