Belmont Overnight Ratings Up 13%, Best for Non-Triple Crown Belmont Since 2005

Story by: Adam Freifeld

NEW YORK – June 10, 2012 – Overnight ratings for the Belmont Stakes on NBC soared, despite the scratch of Triple Crown-hopeful I’ll Have Another, topping last year’s overnight by 13%, and the 2010 overnight by 74%. Yesterday’s overnight rating is the highest for a non-Triple Crown Belmont since 2005 on NBC.

NBC’ broadcast of the Belmont Stakes, which was won by Union Rags, registered a 5.4 overnight rating and an 13 share for the race portion, up 13 percent from last year’s race (4.8/11 on NBC), and up 74% from the 2010 race (3.1/7 on ABC). Yesterday’s Belmont had the highest overnight for the race in a non-Triple Crown year since 2005 on NBC (6.0/13), according to overnight ratings data provided today by The Nielsen Company.

The NBC Sports Group presented 11 total hours of Belmont Week coverage (8.5 hours on NBC Sports Network and 2.5 hours on NBC). This is the second consecutive year that NBC televised all three Triple Crown races. NBC previously aired all three races from 2001-2005.

  • The race portion of the Belmont (6:15-7 p.m. ET) registered a 5.4/13 overnight rating, 13% higher than last year’s 4.8/11 on NBC and 74% higher than the 2010 Belmont (3.1/7 on ABC).
  • The 5.4/13 overnight rating is the highest for a non-Triple Crown year in seven years (6.0/13 in 2005 on NBC).
  • The rating is up eight percent higher than Belmont in 2009 when jockey Calvin Borel attempted to make history by becoming the first jockey to win the Triple Crown on two different horses in the same year (Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont and Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness).
  • The local market rating in New York (9.6/22) is up 30% from last year’s Belmont (7.4/16) and the best rating for the New York market for a non-Triple Crown race since 2006 (9.9).
  • The pre-race (5-6:15), bolstered by a 90-minute Belmont Access show on NBC Sports Network that preceded the NBC broadcast, is up 19% over last year (2.6/6 on NBC) and up 121% from the 2010 pre-race on ABC (1.4/3).
  • The 3.1 overnight rating for the pre-show was the best for that segment in a non-Triple Crown year since 2005 (3.9/9).

*Viewership for Belmont Stakes will be available on Tuesday when The Nielsen Company releases national ratings.

BELMONT STAKES OVERNIGHT RATINGS SINCE 2006 (Race Portion):

2012 5.4/13 NBC (Triple Crown contender I’ll Have Another scratched
2011 4.8/11 NBC
2010 3.1/7 ABC
2009 5.0/12 ABC (Borel going for unprecedented jockey Triple Crown)
2008 9.5/21 ABC (Triple Crown at stake – Big Brown)
2007 3.5/8 ABC
2006 3.8/9 ABC

TOP 10 OVERNIGHT RATINGS FOR BELMONT STAKES:

1. Ft. Myers, 11.2/23
2. West Palm Beach, 10.8/21
3. New York, 9.6/22
4. Baltimore, 8.3/18
5. Orlando, 7.8/15
6. Tampa, 7.7/14
7. Greensboro, 7.5/15
T8. Pittsburgh, 7.4/19
T8. Louisville, 7.4/15
T8. Richmond, 7.4/14

The Belmont ratings success follows strong ratings for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

14.8 MILLION WATCH KENTUCKY DERBY: NBC’s coverage of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby drew 14.8 million viewers, the third most-watched Kentucky Derby in 23 years, and up two percent from last year’s Derby. Since implementing NBC Sports Group’s ‘Big Event Strategy,’ the last four Kentucky Derby races have all recorded at least 14.5 million viewers.

NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby over the last 12 years averages more than 2 million more viewers than the previous 12 Kentucky Derby broadcasts on ABC (14.1 million vs.12.0 million, up 17 percent).

8.1 MILLION WATCH PREAKNESS STAKES: NBC Sports coverage of the Preakness Stakes drew 8.1 million viewers, the fourth consecutive year that the Preakness drew more than eight million viewers. Since NBC began broadcasting the Preakness in 2001, every Preakness telecast on NBC over that period attracted more viewers than any Preakness telecast on ABC in the previous seven years. Viewership for the Preakness is up an average of 60% in the 12 years on NBC compared to the previous eight years on ABC.

NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: The NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup, which was broadcast on NBC from 1984-2005. Last year marked the first time that all three Triple Crown races appeared on one network since NBC last aired the Triple Crown in 2005. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001. This year, the NBC Sports Group will present 27½ hours of Triple Crown coverage across NBC and NBC Sports Network.

NBC Sports Group is also the home to Summer at Saratoga, Autumn at Keeneland, and, in collaboration with The Jockey Club, the Road to the Kentucky Derby series that provided live coverage of six major prep races for the 2012 Kentucky Derby.