Kentucky Derby races for ratings

Without hoops opposition, program up 26% over last year

NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday produced the race’s highest overnight rating in nine years.

According to Nielsen, the first of horse racing’s Triple Crown events netted an 8.3/20 in metered markets from 5-6:40 p.m. EDT — a 26% improvement vs. last year’s 6.6/17 on ABC and the best since 1992 (9.5/25).

Helping to boost the race’s ratings in its inaugural year on the Peacock net, the derby didn’t have to face NBA playoff action. In past years, ABC’s coverage of the race would regularly oppose second-round NBA playoff coverage on NBC.

This year, the Kentucky Derby’s big score served to boost the NBA game that followed it. Game 1 of the Dallas-San Antonio playoff contest netted a 5.3/11 in overnights, a 33% improvement vs. a year ago.

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