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Viewership By the Numbers: A Close Look at TV Audiences for Iconic Horse Races

On Saturday, Justify became the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown as he triumphed at the Belmont Stakes, following earlier wins at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. We partnered with Inscape, the TV measurement company with glass-level data from a panel of more than 8 million smart TVs and devices, to get some insight into the various audiences of these iconic horse races, which were all broadcast live on NBC.

In terms of audience crossover, the highest crossover percentage is between the Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Derby viewership. Specifically:

  • Among the Kentucky Derby audience, 22% also watched the Preakness Stakes and 26% checked out the Belmont Stakes.
  • For those who watched the Preakness Stakes, 33% tuned in to the Belmont Stakes while 40% had watched the Kentucky Derby
  • 26% of the Belmont Stakes audience had watched the Preakness Stakes, while 36% had viewed the Kentucky Derby.

With the Triple Crown on the line during the Belmont Stakes, it makes sense that the race was the most-watched among all three. Overall, 3% of the country tuned in to watch the win, including 6% of households in Kentucky and Maine, and 5% in Florida.

Here’s a minute-by-minute look at the Belmont Stakes broadcast. As you’d expected, viewership built steadily, peaking right as the race took place.