Tuesday, May 5th, 2015


Viewership Peaked at 17.9 Million As American Pharoah Crossed Finish Line

Primetime Golf Following Derby: Golf Channel on NBC Posts Highest Rating for WGC Match Play in 7 Years

Kentucky Derby is Most-Watched Saturday Afternoon Sporting Event since AFC Divisional Playoff on NBC

NBC Sports Live Extra Sets Kentucky Derby Record

STAMFORD, Conn. – May 5, 2015 – NBC Sports’ coverage of American Pharoah’s down-to-the-wire victory in Saturday’s 141st Kentucky Derby averaged 16.0 million viewers – up 4% from last year (15.3 million for California Chrome’s victory), according to final data provided by The Nielsen Company.

Viewership peaked at 17.9 million viewers from 6:30-6:45 p.m. ET when American Pharoah crossed the finish line.

Saturday’s Kentucky Derby is the most-watched Saturday afternoon sporting event since NBC’s telecast of the AFC Divisional Playoff on Jan. 10, 2015 (Baltimore-New England, 34.0 million viewers).

  • The Kentucky Derby (6:16-7:02 p.m. ET) posted a 9.6/23 national rating – up 2% from a 9.4/22 last year.
  • This is the fifth time in seven years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015) that NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers. From 1991-2008, Kentucky Derby average viewership did not reach 15 million.
  • Saturday’s pre-race coverage, which included the 5 p.m. ET show open narrated by Kentucky’s own Ashley Judd (click here to watch), averaged 8.8 million viewers – third-highest for a pre-race show since 1992.
  • NBC Sports Live Extra’s live stream of the Kentucky Derby – which required authentication for the first time – delivered 221,000 unique visitors, up 12% from last year (198,000), and the largest-ever Kentucky Derby audience on NBC Sports Live Extra. Coverage included four exclusive camera angles (grandstand, paddock, overhead, and jockey), bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators, and replays and footage from the key “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep races.
  • NBCSN’s live weekday coverage from Churchill Downs, beginning with Wednesday’s Kentucky Derby Draw Show, posted viewership increases each day with an average viewership increase of 32% from Wednesday through Friday.
  • Louisville, the home of the Kentucky Derby, topped the metered markets with a 35.0 rating/65 share (top 20 markets listed below).


The World Golf Championships–Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco posted the best rating for Saturday’s quarterfinal matches since 2008 (1.66 US Rtg/2.525 million viewers). Viewership was up 44% over 2014 (1.28 US Rtg / 1.756 million viewers on CBS) and was the highest in seven years. Sunday’s rating for the semifinals on Golf Channel (.47 US Rtg / .70 Cvg Rtg/ 613,000 viewers) was up 27% year over year.

The best field in golf, including all Top-50 players in the world, competes this week at THE PLAYERS Championship from the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Fla.  Reigning U.S. Open Champion Martin Kaymer, who also is defending his PLAYERS Championship title, will highlight the field that also includes McIlroy, Masters Champion Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.  Golf Channel’s coverage includes Golf Central’s Live From THE PLAYERS, which will air nearly 70 hours of news coverage surrounding the PGA TOUR’s marquee event all week.  Live tournament coverage of THE PLAYERS Championship airs Thursday and Friday from 1-7 p.m. ET on Golf Channel, and on Saturday and Sunday from 2-7 p.m. ET on Golf Channel on NBC.

2015 16.0 million NBC American Pharoah
2014 15.3 million NBC California Chrome
2013 16.2 million NBC Orb
2012 14.8 million NBC I’ll Have Another
2011 14.5 million NBC Animal Kingom
2010 16.5 million NBC Super Saver
2009 16.1 million NBC Mine That Bird
2008 14.2 million NBC Big Brown
2007 13.7 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 13.5 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 12.2 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



1. Louisville 35.0/65
2. Ft. Myers 19.7/39
3. Cincinnati 17.7/38
4. West Palm Beach 16.8/32
5. Dayton 15.8/31
T6. Tampa-St. Pete 15.6/30
T6. Indianapolis 15.6/31
T6. Richmond 15.6/28
9. Orlando 14.7/30
10. Knoxville 14.6/27
11. Buffalo 14.5/31
12. Hartford 14.2/28
13. Nashville 13.6/26
14. Columbus 13.5/28
15. Boston 13.4/32
16. Denver 13.1/30
17. Albuquerque 12.9/28
18. Philadelphia 12.7/28
19. Oklahoma City 12.4/25
20. Milwaukee 11.9/28

PREAKNESS STAKES ON NBC SPORTS, MAY 16: In two weeks, Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah will take the next step in his quest to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years, since Affirmed in 1978. NBC Sports Group coverage of The Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Md., begins Friday, May 15 at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.  NBC presents The Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 16 at 4:30 p.m. ET with coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Date Time Event Network
Fri., May 15 3 p.m. Preakness Classics NBCSN
Fri., May 15 4 p.m. Black Eyed Susan NBCSN
Sat., May 16 2:30 p.m. Preakness Saturday NBCSN
Sat., May 16 4:30 p.m. Preakness Stakes NBC
Sat., May 16 6:30 p.m. Preakness Post-Race Show NBCSN

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