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NBC's Kentucky Derby & NHL early-round playoff game make People Meter history


Mon, May 8th 2017 05:25 pm

NBC Sports' coverage of the 143rd Kentucky Derby followed immediately by the primetime Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Capitals Stanley Cup Playoff Game 5 on Saturday posted numerous viewership milestones for both events, according to fast national data provided by The Nielsen Company and digital data from Adobe Analytics. 

Always Dreaming's victory in the Kentucky Derby posted a total audience delivery average of 16.5 million viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital platforms - marking the largest Kentucky Derby audience since 1989 (18.5 million viewers for Sunday Silence's win on ABC).

For the second consecutive year, NBC aired a Stanley Cup Playoff game in primetime after the Kentucky Derby. With Saturday's puck drop shortly after Always Dreaming's victory, Game 5 of the Penguins-Capitals second-round series delivered a total audience delivery average of 4.365 million viewers, making it the most-watched early-round Stanley Cup Playoff game in People Meter history (1993).

TAD measures consumption across multiple platforms, combining the average minute audience for television and digital.

Kentucky Derby Highlights:

•TV-only Kentucky Derby viewership peaked at 19.1 million viewers from 6:45-7 p.m. ET when Always Dreaming crossed the finish line 23/4 lengths ahead of Lookin at Lee - up 7 percent from the peaks of the past two Kentucky Derby races, won by Nyquist in 2016 and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015 (17.9 million for both).

•The 143rd Kentucky Derby (6:24-7:11 p.m.) on NBC averaged 16.4 million TV-only viewers with a 9.3/22 HH rating - up 6 percent and 3 percent respectively from last year.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Highlights:

•Game 5 (7:11-10 p.m.), in which the Capitals staved off elimination by coming back to beat the Penguins 4-2 at home, delivered a TAD average of 4.365 million viewers, making it the most-watched early-round Stanley Cup Playoff game in People Meter history (1993), as well as the second-most watched non-Stanley Cup Final game in 24 years, behind only the Chicago-Anaheim Western Conference Final Game 7 in 2015 (4.636 million).

This year's Penguins-Capitals Game 5 was up 4 percent vs. the same series' Game 5 last year (TAD of 4.187 million), which also aired after the Kentucky Derby.

On television only, the game delivered a 2.38 HH rating and 4.330 million viewers. The average minute audience across NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app was 35,000 viewers, up 53 percent vs. last year's game.

Kentucky Derby

Top metered markets for 2017 Kentucky Derby (race portion)





Ft. Myers









Top metered markets for the NHL Game 5 playoff game








 Washington, D.C.






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