More Than 15.5 Million Watch Nyquist Win 142nd Kentucky Derby, Peaks at 17.9 Million

NYQUIST - The Kentucky Derby Gr I - 142nd Running - 05-07-16 - R12 - CD - Turn 3 - Coady Photography
Coady Photography

STAMFORD, Conn. – May 10, 2016 – NBC Sports’ coverage of Nyquist’s victory in Saturday’s 142nd Kentucky Derby averaged 15.5 million viewers – marking the fourth consecutive year the “Run for the Roses” has topped 15 million viewers on NBC, according to final data provided by The Nielsen Company.

Viewership peaked with 17.9 million viewers from 6:45-7:00 p.m. ET when Nyquist crossed the finish line, which matched the peak from last year’s Kentucky Derby victory by Triple Crown champion American Pharoah. Nyquist’s time of 2:01.31 over the mile-and-a-quarter race topped Pharoah’s winning time by nearly two seconds (2:03.02).

For the first time ever, NBC aired a Stanley Cup Playoff game in primetime after the Kentucky Derby. With Saturday’s puck drop shortly after Nyquist’s victory, Game 5 of the Penguins-Capitals second-round series averaged 4.164 million viewers – ranking as the second-most watched non-Stanley Cup Final game in 23 years (additional details below).

  • Saturday’s Kentucky Derby is the most-watched weekend sporting event since Super Bowl 50.
  • The Kentucky Derby (6:21-7:08 p.m. ET) posted a 9.0/21 national rating.
  • This is the fourth consecutive year and sixth time in eight years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) 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 6 p.m. ET show open narrated by Kentucky’s own Ashley Judd (click here to watch), averaged 9.3 million viewers – second-best ever for a pre-race show (since 1992).
  • NBC Sports Live Extra’s presentation of the Kentucky Derby ranks as the most streamed Kentucky Derby ever, delivering 7 million minutes, up 75% from last year (3 million minutes). The stream also delivered a record 225,000 unique users. Coverage included a mosaic of four different camera angles for the first time ever, including the NBC broadcast, a grandstand camera, an overhead camera, and an infield camera. During the race, the infield camera was replaced by “Collmus Cam” – Larry Collmus’ Kentucky Derby race call as streamed by a camera in his booth at Churchill Downs. Click here to watch the mosaic replay.
  • Johnny Weir’s tweet-powered brooch galloped and lit up more than 6 million times.
  • On Derby Day, NBC Sports’ Facebook delivered 10 million impressions (up 372% compared to the 2015 Kentucky Derby) and the @NBCSN Twitter handle delivered 1.5 million impressions (up 123%), with 1.1 million video views on Derby Day across Facebook and Twitter. A replay of the race, sponsored by Longines, racked up 1 million views on Facebook, and was shared more than 6,000 times. In addition, nearly 35,000 fans tuned in to NBC Sports Group’s Facebook Live content on Derby Day.
  • Louisville, the home of the Kentucky Derby, topped the metered markets with a 33.7 rating/62 share (top 20 markets listed below).


Saturday’s primetime presentation of Game 5 between the Penguins and Capitals on NBC (7:08-11:05 p.m. ET) is the second-most watched non-Stanley Cup Final game on record (since 1993), averaging 4.164 million viewers. The game also posted a 2.40 HH rating, making it the second-highest rated non-Stanley Cup Final game ever on NBC (since 2006). Saturday night’s game trails only last year’s Western Conference Final Game 7 matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks on NBC in both categories (5/30/15; 4.601 million viewers and 2.61 HH rating).

  • Through all available games on NBC, the playoffs have posted 1.983 million average viewers (up 8% from NBC’s comparable coverage of the playoffs last year);
  • Pittsburgh – Game 5 produced a 19.8 rating in Pittsburgh to rank as the highest-rated Penguins game on NBC in the market since the 2013 Eastern Conference Final (6/1/13; 23.2);
  • Washington D.C. – Game 5 produced a 7.7 rating in Washington D.C. to rank as the highest-rated Capitals game on NBC in the market since the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Boston (4/22/12; 8.7);
  • NBC was the No. 1 network in both Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. during the game.

Kentucky Derby Viewership

2016 15.5 million NBC Nyquist
2015 16.0 million NBC American Pharoah
2014 15.3 million NBC California Chrome
2013 16.2 million NBC Orb
2012 14.8 million NBC I’ll Have Another
2011 14.5 million NBC Animal Kingom
2010 16.5 million NBC Super Saver
2009 16.1 million NBC Mine That Bird
2008 14.2 million NBC Big Brown
2007 13.7 million NBC Street Sense
2006 12.9 million NBC Barbaro
2005 13.6 million NBC Giacomo
2004 14.6 million NBC Smarty Jones
2003 11.8 million NBC Funny Cide
2002 12.8 million NBC War Emblem
2001 13.5 million NBC Monarchos
2000 9.1 million ABC Fusaichi Pegasus
1999 9.9 million ABC Charismatic
1998 9.5 million ABC Real Quiet
1997 11.3 million ABC Silver Charm
1996 11.0 million ABC Grindestone
1995  9.3 million ABC Thunder Gulch
1994 12.2 million ABC Go For Gin
1993 11.5 million ABC Sea Hero
1992 13.7 million ABC Lil E Tee
1991 13.4 million ABC Strike The Gold
1990 15.6 million ABC Unbridled
1989 18.5 million ABC Sunday Silence


1. Louisville 33.7/62
2. Cincinnati 16.6/33
3. Ft. Myers 16.5/30
4. West Palm Beach 14.6/27
5. Tampa-St. Pete 14.2/29
6. Buffalo 13.6/25
7. Richmond 13.3/26
8. Pittsburgh 13.1/28
9. Hartford 12.5/24
T10. Denver 12.2/28
T10. Orlando 12.2/24
T10. Jacksonville 12.2/22
13. New Orleans 12.1/23
14. Indianapolis 12.0/26
15. Knoxville 11.9/23
16. Philadelphia 11.3/24
17. Detroit 11.2/24
18. Tulsa 10.5/20
19. Nashville 10.4/21
T20. Columbus 10.3/22
T20. Greensboro 10.3/20

141st PREAKNESS STAKES ON NBC SPORTS, MAY 21: In two weeks, Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist will take the next step in his quest to succeed American Pharoah as a Triple Crown champion. NBC Sports Group’s coverage of The 141st Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Md., begins Friday, May 20 at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.  NBC presents The Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 21 at 5:00 p.m. ET, with coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.


Date Time Event Network
Fri., May 20 3 p.m. Black Eyed Susan NBCSN
Sat., May 21 2:30 p.m. Preakness Saturday NBCSN
Sat., May 21 5:00 p.m. Preakness Stakes NBC

NBC Sports

To Top

Subscribers receive the latest news, picks and updates from the Dudes. Subscribe now and recieve a one FREE track of our premium picks!

You have Successfully Subscribed!