16.5 Million Viewers Watch Super Saver and Calvin Borel Win, Topping Last Year’s Derby (16.3 Million)
In 10 Years the Kentucky Derby is Now Seen By 7 Million More Viewers
**16.5 Million in 2010 on NBC vs. 9.1 Million in 2000 on ABC**
“You didn’t have to be a horse racing fan to thoroughly enjoy NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage and, when you think about it, that’s the sign of a tremendous production.” – St. Petersburg Times, May 2, 2010
NEW YORK – May 4, 2010 – NBC Sports’ coverage of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby was the most viewed Kentucky Derby in 21 years according to data provided by The Nielsen Company. The race averaged 16.5 million viewers, topping last year’s 16.3 million and two million more than the 14.2 million in 2008. Saturday’s race was the most watched Kentucky Derby since 1989 when Sunday Silence won the Derby (18.5 million).
NBC Sports coverage of the Kentucky Derby now reaches more than seven million more viewers than the last Kentucky Derby broadcast by ABC in 2000 (16.5 million vs.9.1 million, up 51 percent).
KENTUCKY DERBY VIEWERSHIP
2010 16.5 million NBC Super Saver
2009 16.3 million NBC Mine That Bird
2008 14.2 million NBC Big Brown
2007 13.8 million NBC Street Sense
2006 12.9 million NBC Barbaro
2005 13.6 million NBC Giacomo
2004 14.6 million NBC Smarty Jones
2003 11.8 million NBC Funny Cide
2002 12.8 million NBC War Emblem
2001 13.8 million NBC Monarchos
2000 9.1 million ABC Fusaichi Pegasus
1999 9.9 million ABC Charismatic
1998 9.5 million ABC Real Quiet
1997 11.3 million ABC Silver Charm
1996 11.0 million ABC Grindestone
1995 9.3 million ABC Thunder Gulch
1994 12.1 million ABC Go For Gin
1993 11.5 million ABC Sea Hero
1992 13.7 million ABC Lil E Tee
1991 13.4 million ABC Strike The Gold
1990 15.6 million ABC Unbridled
1989 18.5 million ABC Sunday Silence
“In this time of a fragmented television landscape amassing this large audience is a real accomplishment, a testament to the vision of Bob Evans and his team at Churchill Downs to reach the broadest possible audience and to help make this great American tradition even bigger,” said Ken Schanzer, President, NBC Sports.
Saturday’s race coverage notched a 9.8 national rating and a 23 share, tying last year’s Kentucky Derby as the highest rating in 18 years (1992 won by Lil E Tee, 10.3/30), and an 11 percent increase over 2008 (8.8/21) fueled by the hype of “Super Horse” Big Brown.
PREAKNESS STAKES ON NBC SPORTS, MAY 15: In two weeks, Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver with jockey Calvin Borel, who has won three of the last four Kentucky Derby’s, will take one more step to try to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 32 years, since Affirmed in 1978. NBC Sports’ coverage of The Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Md., begins Saturday, May 15 at 4:30 p.m. ET.
After the race, Borel told NBC Sports reporter Donna Brothers, “You know what? I’m gonna win the Triple Crown this year.”
$900,000 KENTUCKY DERBY DREAMBET: Glen Fullerton of Houston, Texas won $900,000 in the Kentucky Derby DreamBet Sweepstakes. Churchill Downs’ partnership with CNBC through its ‘Call the Close’ $100,000 Derby DreamBet Sweepstakes gave Fullerton the chance to place a $100,000 win bet on the Kentucky Derby. His wager on Super Saver earned him a life-changing payout of $900,000, while NBC Sports’ coverage of his reaction as Super Saver brought home the roses made for a truly great television moment.
After the race, Fullerton said to NBC Sports reporter Kenny Rice, “”Super Saver had been good on the dirt track before, in mud and Calvin Borel had an outstanding day today and an outstanding weekend and I couldn’t go wrong with that. The favorite had the rail and I had a feeling that not having to deal with that pressure that Super Saver was the horse to pick.”
CRITICS PRAISE NBC’S KENTUCKY DERBY COVERAGE:
“NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage represents a triumph of packaging. It transforms a sports event that lasts about two minutes into a three-hour TV show and creates story lines around athletes who literally aren’t quotable…and it scores at the TV box office.”
– USA Today
“NBC’s broadcast had a little something for everyone, from the diehard horse racing enthusiast to the casual observer who tunes in just to watch celebrities in silly hats sipping mint juleps. There were compelling features on owners, horses and jockeys that were interesting, informative and entertaining, even to those who watch this one horse race a year. Host Bob Costas did his usual masterful job running things, while reporter Donna Brothers was the star of the broadcast with her reports, mostly from horseback. You didn’t have to be a horse racing fan to thoroughly enjoy NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage and, when you think about it, that’s the sign of a tremendous production.”
– St. Petersburg Times
“NBC had some very good stuff. A feature on the 25 regular Joes (and at least one Josephine) who shared the $10,000 purchase of Noble’s Promise was particularly good. At the piece’s end, NBC analyst and ex-jockey Gary Stevens provided some neat gift wrap, reminding us that working stiffs don’t own NFL or MLB teams, but they can own a horse in the Kentucky Derby.”
– New York Post