Viewership peaked at 17.9 million as American Pharoah Crossed Finish Line
NBC Sports' coverage of American Pharoah's down-to-the-wire victory in Saturday's 141st Kentucky Derby averaged 16.0 million viewers - up 4 percent from last year (15.3 million for California Chrome's victory), according to final data provided by The Nielsen Company.
Viewership peaked at 17.9 million viewers from 6:30-6:45 p.m. ET when American Pharoah crossed the finish line.
Saturday's Kentucky Derby is the most-watched Saturday afternoon sporting event since NBC's telecast of the AFC Divisional Playoff on Jan. 10 (Baltimore-New England, 34.0 million viewers).
•The Kentucky Derby (6:16-7:02 p.m.) posted a 9.6/23 national rating - up 2 percent from a 9.4/22 last year. Buffalo was the 11th-ranked market with a 14.5/31.
•This is the fifth time in seven years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015) that NBC's Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers. From 1991-2008, Kentucky Derby average viewership did not reach 15 million.
•Saturday's pre-race coverage, which included the 5 p.m. show open narrated by Kentucky's own Ashley Judd (click here to watch), averaged 8.8 million viewers - third-highest for a pre-race show since 1992.
•NBC Sports Live Extra's live stream of the Kentucky Derby - which required authentication for the first time - delivered 221,000 unique visitors, up 12 percent from last year (198,000), and the largest-ever Kentucky Derby audience on NBC Sports Live Extra. Coverage included four exclusive camera angles (grandstand, paddock, overhead and jockey), bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators, and replays and footage from the key "Road to the Kentucky Derby" prep races.
•NBCSN's live weekday coverage from Churchill Downs, beginning with Wednesday's Kentucky Derby draw show, posted viewership increases each day, with an average viewership increase of 32 percent from Wednesday through Friday.
•Louisville, the home of the Kentucky Derby, topped the metered markets with a 35.0 rating/65 share.
•Following The Kentucky Derby, The World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco posted the best rating for Saturday's quarterfinal matches since 2008 (1.66 U.S. rating/2.525 million viewers). Viewership was up 44 percent over 2014 (1.28 U.S. rating/1.756 million viewers on CBS), and was the highest in seven years. Sunday's rating for the semifinals on Golf Channel (.47/613,000) was up 27 percent year over year.
•In two weeks, Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah will take the next step in his quest to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years (since Affirmed in 1978). NBC Sports Group coverage of The Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore begins at 3 p.m. Friday, May 15. NBC presents The Preakness Stakes at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16, with coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. on NBCSN.