Belmont Stakes TV Viewership Through 2008

Categories: TV Ratings Reference

Written By

June 13th, 2008

2008 Viewership Surges on Big Brown Triple Crown Try

6/13 Update: Big Brown fell short, far short, in the 2008 Belmont Stakes, but viewership soared to its 3rd highest level since 1991 at 13.1 million.

You'd expect that viewership for the Belmont Stakes, as the third race in the Triple Crown, would spike when a Triple Crown winner is possible. In fact, the results are quite varied. Sometimes the viewership rises sharply as in 2002 (War Emblem), 2003 (Funny Cide) and 2004 (Smarty Jones). But other years the increases are quite modest as in 1997 (Silver Charm), 1998 (Real Quiet), and 1999 (Charismatic).

My guess is that it's likely that the network and/or broadcast time has a lot to do with the results. ABC had the broadcast from 1986-2000, and NBC had it from 2001-2005, and ABC has had it since 2006. I don't have any data (or any personal knowledge) of why NBC does so much better, as they have with the Kentucky Derby, but both telecast time and program format were suggested by our earlier commenters.

I'd expect this year's viewership to be high by ABC telecast standards, certainly over 8 million, but unless they've changed something radically in the past year, unlikely to reach the recent NBC heights over 20 million.

6/6 Update: Here is a PDF file with some related data from Nielsen.

Belmont Stakes TV Ratings Data, 1972-2008:

 

 

 


Year Viewers HH rating Share Network Winner
1972   8.6 30 CBS Riva Ridge
1973   17.5 52 CBS Secretariat**
1974   11.0 36 CBS Little Current
1975   9.5 32 CBS Avator
1976   11.2 38 CBS Bold Forbes
1977   17.2 53 CBS Seattle Slew**
1978   10.9 39 CBS Affirmed**
1979   9.4 30 CBS Coastal
1980   9.6 28 CBS Temperence Hill
1981   12.6 36 CBS Summing
1982   8.8 25 CBS Conuistador Cielo
1983   7.8 24 CBS Caveat
1984   5.0 15 CBS Swale
1985   5.3 16 CBS Crème Fraiche
1986   6.2 19 ABC Danzig Connection
1987 12.64 9.4 27 ABC Bet Twice
1988   5.4 18 ABC Risen Star
1989   8.5 25 ABC Easy Goer
1990   5.3 16 ABC Go and Go
1991 5.32 4.5 15 ABC Hansel
1992 6.01 4.5 15 ABC A.P. Indy
1993 5.65 4.2 11 ABC Colonial Affair
1994 5.06 3.9 12 ABC Tabasco Cat
1995 4.60 3.5 11 ABC Thunder Gulch
1996 3.69 2.9 9 ABC Editor's Note
1997 7.15 5.3 16 ABC Touch Gold
1998 8.02 5.9 18 ABC Victory Gallup
1999 7.95 6.0 17 ABC Lemon Drop Kid
2000 3.82 2.8 9 ABC Commendale
2001 6.80 4.9 14 NBC Point Given
2002 12.41 8.4 22 NBC Sarava
2003 15.70 10.7 25 NBC Empire Maker
2004 21.89 13.1 29 NBC Birdstone
2005 7.71 5.4 13 NBC Afleet Alex
2006* 5.04 3.5 9 ABC Jazil
2007* 4.86 3.2 8 ABC Rags to Riches
2008* 13.10 8.2 20 ABC Da' Tara

*LIVE+SD viewing. Prior years are LIVE viewing.
**Triple Crown winner

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 
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