NBC ratings up 7% from last year

The last hour of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby coverage earned a 10.2 rating/22 share in household overnights for NBC, a 7% increase from last year and the best in 17 years.

Due to a delay in Nielsen computations, overall viewership totals won’t be announced until today. More than 14 million viewers tuned in to see the final hour of last year’s Derby, with 11.5 million watching the entire broadcast.

Peacock expanded its Derby coverage from 2½ to three hours this year and promoted the race heavily on “Today” and other NBC series. The last hour of the telecast is always higher than the rest of the coverage, with the race and analysis coming in that final 60 minutes.

The race was won by 50-to-1 long shot Mine That Bird, with Calvin Borel riding. The underdog horse went from last to first and upset a field of 18 others. With a $2 bet paying $103.20, he was the second highest-priced horse ever to win the Derby.

NBC will air the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, on May 16 from Baltimore.

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