UPDATE, 9:42 AM: This year’s Kentucky Derby pulled in 16.2 million viewers on May 4 for NBC Sports. Viewership for this year’s Orb won race was up 9% from 2012 and up 12% from 2011, according to Nielsen. NBC’s broadcast of the 6:05 PM to 6:53 PM race turned in the second best result for the Derby since the 18.5 million who watched in 1989 on ABC. The 2010 race garnered 16.5 million viewers. This year’s Derby got a 9.7/12 household rating, which is up 8% from last year’s results and up 14% from 2011.
PREVIOUSLY, MAY 5 AM: Orb wasn’t the only one to score big in the first stop in the Triple Crown. NBC Sports drew a 10.4 overnight rating/23 share for the race portion from 6-7 PM ET, tying 2010′s numbers for the best Kentucky Derby in 21 years. The coverage was also up 16% from last year. Pre-race figures were also boosted in NBC’s coverage spanning 4 PM to 6 PM ET. Between 4-4:30 PM ET coverage topped network-highs (3.1/8) since NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage in that time frame began in 2008; from 4:30-5 PM ET ratings were also network-best (4.1/10) in that block since 2007. Pre-race coverage (5-6 PM ET) was up 15% from 2012 with a 6.2/15 overnight rating. Louisville, home of the 138-year-old event, was #1 in metered markets (43.7/69). Winning thoroughbred Orb will next chase the Triple Crown at the Preakness Stakes on May 18.