Saturday’s Kentucky Derby averaged 16.5 million viewers on NBC, which is tied for the most-watched Derby on the network since it started televising it in 2001.
NBC Sports and the Nielsen company report that is a 10% increase over last year, when Justify’s win en route to an eventual Triple Crown averaged 15 million. The 2010 and 2017 races also averaged 16.5 million. The Derby has averaged at least 15 million for seven straight years, which is the longest streak since records were kept beginning in 1989.
Saturday’s broadcast averaged 18 million during the race and peaked at 18.5 million for post-race coverage, when first-place finisher Maximum Security was disqualified for interference and Country House was named the winner.
The Derby also benefited Saturday night’s NHL playoff game between Columbus and Boston. The game averaged 4.618 million viewers, making it the second-most watched non-Stanley Cup Final NHL game dating to 1993. The deciding game of the 2015 Western Conference final between Chicago and Anaheim averaged 4.636 million.