NBC Sports’ coverage of Saturday’s 135th Belmont Stakes in Gotham generated the highest overnight rating for any horse race since 1990 and the highest Belmont Stakes overnight since at least 1987.
According to Nielsen Media Research, the 5:30-7 p.m. ET telecast of the Belmont victory by Empire Maker, who thwarted Funny Cide’s attempt at the Triple Crown, produced a 10.4 overnight rating/24 share — a higher rating than any pro basketball contest this season, including the first two games of the NBA Finals, has drawn.
The Belmont result represents a 13% jump over last year’s 9.2/21 (5-6:45 p.m.) overnight for War Emblem’s failed Triple Crown try. The 10.4 is the highest overnight for any horse race since the 1990 Kentucky Derby, which earned an 11.3/29 on ABC for Unbridled’s win. It is the highest Belmont Stakes overnight since at least 1987, when ABC’s telecast produced a 9.2/25 overnight for Alysheba’s unsuccessful Triple Crown bid.
Saturday’s telecast peaked from 6:30-7 p.m. ET with a 12.9/27 overnight rating. The race segment (6-7 p.m. ET) produced an 11.8/25 — up 16% from last year’s 10.2/23.
As expected, the race was an especially big hit on the East Coast, with strong scores in cities like Orlando (20.7/36), Baltimore (18.8/35), Hartford (17.2/34) and New York (15.6/28).