Overnight Derby ratings highest in 17 years
by Frank Angst from ThoroughbredTimes.com
The combined efforts of NBC and Churchill Downs Inc. to angle the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (G1) broadcast to a wider audience apparently paid dividends.
NBC Sports reports the race segment of its broadcast registered the highest overnight rating in 17 years. During the hour of the race—6 p.m.-7 p.m. EDT on May 2—the Derby registered a 10.2 overnight rating and a share of 22.
The race ratings are up 6.8% from last year and are the highest since 1992, when Lil E. Tee won the classic.
NBC included segments in its broadcast designed to interest women, including red carpet celebrity arrival coverage, Top Chef, and fashion segments.
“I think a key word for our coverage is balance: balance serving the horsemen and journalism; balance in serving the male-female viewers,” said NBC Sports Spokesman Adam Freifeld. “Balance in covering the scene and the race.”
NBC also employed its “big event” marketing strategy for the race by providing coverage and promotion through the "TODAY" show, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "NBC Primetime," Bravo, and Oxygen. NBC started the promotion with an ad on Super Bowl Sunday.
NBC also promoted the race through iVillage and its companion service BlogHer.
Frank Angst is senior staff writer of Thoroughbred Times