It's been well publicized that the Derby had its best ratings since 1992 and the final # this year of 9.8 was an increase of 11% since 1988.
Now lets look at what the Derby Beat out last weekend, listed by Event, Day, Network and Rating.
1. Kentucky Derby-Saturday-NBC-9.8
2. Bulls-Celtics Game 7-Saturday-TNT-4.4
4. PGA Tour-Sunday-CBS-3.7
5. Mavericks-Nuggets Game 1-Sunday-ABC-3.2
The 9.8 Derby ratings converts to 16.3 million pairs of eyeballs. How many of the 16.3 million will turn on NBC on the 16th of May to watch the Preakness?. Not all of them of course, as the Derby will always be the King in TV land, but I expect a big #. Certainly not scientific in nature but today I attended a family event and I had many non racing fans and casual racing fans come up to me to talk about the race. It's amazing what an upset in the Big race does for casual fan interest. No doubt the spectacular last to first rail run by Borel and Mine That Bird added to the excitement of the upset. All the casual fans seemed to know that the Preakness is the next leg of the Triple Crown and they all said they would be watching. I was also surprised that about 1/2 of the casual fans also knew who Rachel Alexandra was.
Source: Nielsen Media Research