From NBC Sports -
BELMONT OVERNIGHT RATINGS UP 55%
NBC’s First Belmont Stakes Broadcast Since 2005 Earns 4.8 Overnight Rating and 11 Share
Pre-Race Following VERSUS 2-Hour Belmont Access up 86%
NEW YORK – June 12, 2011 - NBC Sports first broadcast of the Belmont Stakes since 2005, which was won by 24-1 long shot Ruler on Ice, registered a 4.8 overnight rating and an 11 share for the race portion, up 55 percent from last year’s race on ABC, according to overnight ratings data provided today by The Nielsen Company.
The NBC Sports Group presented 6 ½ hours of Belmont Stakes coverage (four-and-a half hours on VERSUS and two hours on NBC), the first time the entire Triple Crown was broadcast on one network since 2005.
The race portion of the Belmont (6:15-7 p.m. ET) registered a 4.8/11 overnight rating, 55 percent higher than last year’s race portion on ABC (3.1/7 from 5:30-7 p.m. ET).
The rating is down just four percent from the Belmont in 2009 when jockey Calvin Borel attempted to make history by becoming the first jockey to win the Triple Crown on two different horses (Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont and Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness).
The pre-race (5-6:15), bolstered by a two-hour Belmont Access show on VERSUS that preceded the NBC broadcast was up 86 percent over last year’s pre-race on ABC (2.6/6 vs. 1.4/3).
The 2.6 overnight rating for the pre-show was the best for that segment in a non-Triple Crown year since 2006.
BELMONT STAKES OVERNIGHT RATINGS SINCE 2006 (Race Portion):
2011, 4.8/11, NBC
2010, 3.1/7, ABC
2009, 5.0/12, ABC (Borel going for unprecedented jockey Triple Crown)
2008, 9.5/21, ABC (Triple Crown at stake – Big Brown)
2007, 3.5/8, ABC
2006, 3.8/9, ABC
TOP 10 OVERNIGHT RATINGS FOR BELMONT STAKES:
1. Ft. Myers, 8.7/17
T2. Louisville, 8.6/18
T2. Baltimore, 8.6/18
4. Hartford, 8.1/15
T5. New York, 7.4/16
T5. Buffalo, 7.4/17
7. West Palm Beach, 7.2/13
8. Nashville, 7.1/13
T9. Tampa, 6.8/15
T9. Providence, 6.8/13
The Belmont ratings success follows strong ratings for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in the first year since 2005 that NBC broadcast all three Triple Crown races.
14.5 MILLION WATCH KENTUCKY DERBY: NBC Sports' coverage this year’s Kentucky Derby drew 14.54 million viewers, the fourth most-watched Kentucky Derby in 21 years. Since implementing NBC’s Big Event Strategy, the last three Kentucky Derby races have recorded at least 14.5 million viewers including last year’s Derby, which was the most-watched for the event in 22 years.
NBC Sports coverage of the Kentucky Derby over the last 11 years averages more than 2½ million more viewers than the previous 11 Kentucky Derby broadcasts on ABC (14.1 million vs.11.5 million, up 23 percent).
8.8 MILLION WATCH PREAKNESS STAKES: NBC Sports coverage of the Preakness Stakes drew 8.8 million viewers, a gain of five percent over last year’s race and the second most-watched Preakness in five years, topped only by the much-hyped boys vs. girls showdown in 2009 when filly Rachel Alexandra – with jockey Calvin Borel – beat Mine That Bird, which Borel rode to victory in the Kentucky Derby.
*Viewership for Belmont Stakes will be available on Tuesday when The Nielsen Company releases national ratings.