Preakness Stakes Rises 20% From Last Year With 9.7M Viewers

NBC notches best audience since 2009 for second leg of Triple Crown

NBC's coverage of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 18 drew 9.7 million viewers, up 20% from last year's race and the most since 2009, according to Nielsen.

The race, which ran from 5:50-6:39 p.m. ET, was also the fourth most-watched dating back to 1990.  The HH rating for the race rose 13% from last year to a 5.4, also the highest since 2009. NBC Sports Network's two-hour pre-race show from 2:30-4:40 p.m. averaged 466,000 viewers, nearly doubling last year's audience (234,000).

The top five metered-markets for the race were Baltimore (where the race is held) with a 15.7 rating; Louisville (Ky.) with a 15.0; Oklahoma City with a 11.2; Knoxville (Tenn.) with a 11.1; and Ft. Myers (Fla.) with a 10.6.

The gains for the Preakness follow the Kentucky Derby, which garnered the second-best viewership since 1989 with 16.2 million viewers on May 4. The final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, is set for Saturday, June 8 on NBC.