Monday, May 7th, 2018


NBC’s TV-Only Kentucky Derby Viewership Peaked at 17.5 Million as Justify Wins to Remain Undefeated & Break the “Curse of Apollo”

Total Audience Delivery for Penguins-Capitals Game 5 Averages 4.331 Million Viewers; Game 6 TONIGHT at 7 PM ET on NBCSN

Kentucky Derby is Most-Watched Saturday Program since PyeongChang Olympics in February

NBC Sports Digital Sets Kentucky Derby Records


STAMFORD, Conn. – May 7, 2018 – NBC Sports’ coverage of the 144th Kentucky Derby followed immediately by the primetime Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Capitals Stanley Cup Playoff Game 5 on Saturday posted multiple milestones, according to fast national data provided by Nielsen and digital data from Adobe Analytics.


Justify’s victory in the Kentucky Derby posted a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 15.0 million viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital platforms – marking the sixth consecutive year that Kentucky Derby viewership averaged at least 15 million viewers. NBC’s six-year streak averaging 15 million Kentucky Derby viewers is the longest in People Meter history (since 1988).


For the third consecutive year, NBC aired a Stanley Cup Playoff game in primetime after the Kentucky Derby. With Saturday’s puck drop shortly after Justify’s victory, Game 5 of the Penguins-Capitals second-round series delivered a Total Audience Delivery of 4.331 million viewers, making it the second-most watched early-round Stanley Cup Playoff game on record (since 1993).


TAD measures consumption across multiple platforms, combining the average minute audience for television and digital.


Following are viewership highlights from NBC Sports’ Big Event Saturday:





  • TV-only Kentucky Derby viewership peaked at 17.5 million viewers from 6:45-7:00 p.m. ET as Justify crossed the finish line 2½ lengths ahead of Good Magic, to remain undefeated (4-0) and break the 136-year old “Curse of Apollo.”


  • The 144th Kentucky Derby (6:22 – 7:10 p. ET) on NBC, which went head-to-head with an NBA Playoff game for the first time since 2016, averaged 14.9 million TV-only viewers, with an 8.5/21 HH rating.


  • Saturday’s Kentucky Derby is television’s most-watched Saturday program since the PyeongChang Olympics on NBC (Feb. 17, 2018).


  • This is the sixth consecutive year and eighth time in 10 years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) that NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage averaged at least 15 million viewers. (Kentucky Derby viewership history at end)


  • NBC Sports Digital’s presentation of the Kentucky Derby ranks as the most-streamed Kentucky Derby ever, delivering 11.7 million minutes, up 27% from last year. The stream also delivered a record 337,000 uniques. The Average Minute Audience (AMA) for the Kentucky Derby via the NBC Sports app and was a record 123,100 viewers.


  • Louisville, the home of the Kentucky Derby, topped the metered markets with a 37.2 rating/62 share (top 20 markets listed at bottom).




  • Saturday night’s Game 5 of the Pittsburgh-Washington series, in which the Capitals defeated the Penguins 6-3 to take a 3-2 series lead, averaged a TAD of 4.331, making it the second-most watched early round playoff game on record.


  • TV-only viewership averaged 4.278 million viewers, while digital delivered an Average Minute Audience of 52,600 viewers, up 51% vs. last year’s comparable game.


  • Pittsburgh led all markets with a 25.77 local rating, NBC’s best Second Round game on record in the market. Washington, DC, delivered an 8.51 local rating, NBC’s second-best game on record in the market for any round. NBC was the No. 1 network in both markets during the game. Following are the Top 10 Markets for Pittsburgh-Washington Game 5 on NBC:


Rank Market Rating
1 Pittsburgh 25.77
2 Washington, DC 8.51
3 Louisville 6.21
4 Buffalo 6.17
5 Baltimore 5.97
6 Richmond 4.77
7 Norfolk 4.19
8 Nashville 4.04
9 Tampa 3.88
10 Las Vegas 3.83


  • The game ranks as the second-most streamed Second Round game ever in uniques (167,000). It also produced 9.5 million live minutes and an AMA of 52,600 viewers.


  • The Capitals lead the series 3-2, and can move on to their first Eastern Conference Final in the Alexander Ovechkin era with a Game 6 win tonight against the Penguins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Pre-game coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET.




2018 15.0 million* NBC Justify
2017 16.5 million* NBC Always Dreaming
2016 15.6 million* NBC Nyquist
2015 16.1 million* NBC American Pharoah
2014 15.4 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 Kingdom
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 Grindstone
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 37.2/62
2. Ft. Myers 20.0/36
3. Cincinnati 19.8/36
4. Knoxville 17.8/32
5. Pittsburgh 16.4/33
6. Buffalo 15.9/32
7. New Orleans 14.3/25
8. West Palm Beach 14.1/28
9. Tampa 13.4/27
10. Orlando 13.1/28
11. Indianapolis 13.0/27
12. Dayton 12.5/23
13. Hartford 11.7/23
14. Cleveland 11.6/27
15. Columbus 11.1/25
T16. Norfolk 11.0/20
T16. Tulsa 11.0/22
T18. Baltimore 10.4/24
T18. Milwaukee 10.4/23
T18. Washington, DC 10.4/24

143rd PREAKNESS STAKES ON NBC SPORTS, MAY 19: In two weeks, Kentucky Derby winner Justify will take the next step in his Triple Crown quest. NBC Sports Group’s coverage of The 143rd Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Md., begins Friday, May 18 at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.  NBC presents The Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 19 at 5:00 p.m. ET, with coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Date Time Event Network
Fri., May 18 3 p.m. Black Eyed Susan NBCSN
Sat., May 19 2:30 p.m. Preakness Saturday NBCSN
Sat., May 19 5:00 p.m. Preakness Stakes NBC

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