via NBC press release:
MOST WATCHED PREAKNESS IN FIVE YEARS
10.9 Million Viewers Watch Preakness Race, Second Most in 20 Years
13.4 Million on Average Watch Kentucky Derby and Preakness on NBC; Most in 20 Years
NEW YORK - May 19, 2009 - The NBC Sports broadcast of the Preakness Stakes, in which Rachel Alexandra became the first filly in 85 years to win the race as she held off Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird by a length, had the most viewers in five years and the second most in 20 years according to data provided today by Nielsen Media Research.
NBC Sports employed its broad promotional effort to reach casual fans leading to the Kentucky Derby and Preakness combining to draw an average of 13.4 million viewers, the most for the two races combined in 20 years (14.5 million in 1989).
· The race portion of the Preakness (5:56-6:50 p.m. ET) drew 10.9 million viewers, three million more than last year's race (7.9 million, up 38 percent) when the much-hyped Big Brown won to take the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
· The national rating for Saturday's race portion was a 6.8 with a 16 share, the highest since 2004 (7.7/19) and the second highest since 1990 (7.9/23).
· NBC Sports coverage of this year's Preakness reached nearly twice the number of viewers than the last Preakness broadcast by ABC in 2000 (10.9 million vs. 5.5 million, up 98 percent).
With the Preakness and its "Girl vs. the Boys" storyline, NBC Sports continued the broad promotional effort designed to reach the casual fans that led to the most watched Kentucky Derby in 20 years. There were segments about the Preakness on Friday and Saturday on the TODAY show as well as jockey Calvin Borel's appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last Tuesday.
Promo spots for the Preakness Stakes, which included the voice of a 10-year old girl as Rachel Alexandra, aired throughout NBC Primetime, the TODAY show and Late Night with Jay Leno as well as across the many cable networks of NBC Universal.