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Amidst controversy, NBC Sports matches best Kentucky Derby overnight since 1990

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Mon, May 6th 2019 01:35 pm

NBC’s TV-only 10.9/25 Kentucky Derby overnight up 20% from last year’s race & best overnight for any Saturday show since NFL Divisional Playoffs in January

NBC Sports’ coverage of the 145th Kentucky Derby on NBC followed immediately by the primetime Columbus Blue Jackets-Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Playoff Game 5 on Saturday delivered multiple overnight ratings milestones, according to data provided by Nielsen. 

“We hit the trifecta (Saturday) night, with the historic drama of the Kentucky Derby and two one-goal Stanley Cup Playoff games,” said Sam Flood, president of production, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “With the unanticipated and unprecedented conclusion of the Derby leading into Columbus-Boston Game 5, we were able to capitalize on the audience opportunity and set ratings milestones across the board.”

Country House’s victory in the “Run for the Roses” delivered a 10.9/25 overnight rating – matching 1992 as the best overnight for a Kentucky Derby since 1990. In addition, the 10.9/25 for the Kentucky Derby (6:30-7:30 p.m. ET race portion) is up 20% from last year’s race (9.1/21) featuring eventual Triple Crown winner Justify – and marks television’s best Saturday overnight since the NFL Divisional Playoffs (Jan. 12).

The overnight rating peaked at an 11.9/27 from 6:45-7 p.m., as Country House and Maximum Security crossed the finish line. Louisville, the home of the Kentucky Derby, topped the metered markets with a 39.5 rating/69 share. Buffalo was tied for sixth, with a 17.6/32.

The unexpected drama of the Kentucky Derby provided a large lead-in audience for Columbus-Boston Game 5 on NBC. The result was a 3.22 overnight rating, the second-highest overnight for a Stanley Cup Playoff game on record (since 1994), excluding Stanley Cup Final games. Blue Jackets-Bruins Game 5 trails only a 3.27 overnight rating for Chicago-Anaheim in 2015, which was a Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, among non-Stanley Cup Final games. Last night’s game was up 12% vs. last year’s Pittsburgh-Washington Game 5 (2.87), which also led out of the Kentucky Derby.

Columbus delivered a 15.2 local rating for Game 5, NBC Sports’ highest rating on record for an NHL game in the market. Boston scored a 15.1 rating.

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