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May 6, 2024 5:08 pm

Kentucky Derby sees ratings spike; NBC extends contract through 2032

kentucky derby crowd

The 150th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday had the attention of millions of viewers, and that was even before the first three-horse photo finish since 1947 determined 18-1 long shot Mystik Dan as the upset winner.

The average audience was 16.7 million on NBC Sports platforms — a 13 percent increase from 2023 (14.8 million) and the event’s best figure since 1989. The network said 18.5 million watched the 1989 Derby on ABC as Sunday Silence captured the first leg of the Triple Crown.

That’s also the network’s most-viewed program since the NFL divisional playoffs in January.

During the 2-minute marquee race, viewership peaked at 20.1 million from 7-7:15 p.m. EDT — a record for NBC Sports programming of the Kentucky Derby.

Saturday’s race was the most-streamed Derby with 714,000 viewers on Peacock, an increase from 371,000 average minute viewers in 2023.

In related news, NBC Sports agreed to a contract rights extension with Churchill Downs Inc. to air the Run for the Roses through 2032.

Churchill Downs reported in-person attendance of 156,710, up from 4.2 percent in 2023 and the largest since 2018.

–Field Level Media

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