Belmont's 10.4 Overnight Makes NBC's Coverage An EmpirePublished June 9, 2003
|Belmont Stakes Puts Up
Big Numbers On NBC
NBC's coverage of Saturday's Belmont Stakes from 5:30-7:00pm ET, which featured Funny Cide's failed attempt at the Triple Crown, earned a 10.4/24 overnight Nielsen rating, the highest overnight for any horse race since an 11.3/29 for ABC's coverage of the '90 Kentucky Derby. The 10.4 is up 13% over last year's 9.2/21 from 5:00-6:45pm for War Emblem's failed attempt at a Triple Crown. Saturday's race peaked with a 12.9/27 from 6:30-7:00pm ET, while the pre-race segment from 5:30-6:00pm earned a 7.6/17, up 13% from the 6.7/16 from last year's 5:00-5:30pm pre-race coverage. Saturday's race segment from 6:00-7:00pm produced an 11.8/25, up 25% over a 10.2/23 for the comparable 5:30-6:45pm race portion last year. The 10.4 is the Belmont's highest since at least '87, the first year people meters were introduced, when ABC earned a 9.2/25 (NBC). DAILY VARIETY's Rick Kissel notes the 10.4 was "higher ... than any pro basketball contest this season, including the first two games of the NBA Finals" (DAILY VARIETY, 6/9).
MARKET-BY-MARKET: The following presents the top ten metered markets for NBC's coverage (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/9)
|6)||Hartford & New Haven||
|2)||W. Palm Beach||
THE STRETCH RUN: In New Orleans, Pierce Huff wrote NBC "had to give us the Funny Cide story Saturday, and did from every possible angle." NBC's Bob Costas "was solid in prerace and postrace interviews." Tom Hammond and Charlsie Canty "were sound with their information in the booth." Tom Durkin "had a decent call on the surprising developments of the race." But NBC "gave us some things that weren't needed. It would have been better off without the `American Dream' cliche in the tales of Funny Cide's race to fame." Overall, NBC "did a decent job" (TIMES-PICAYUNE, 6/8). In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich writes the highlight of NBC's coverage was showing the horses enter the track "with only the track sounds, including Frank Sinatra ['New York, New York']. No commentary was needed" (TORONTO STAR, 6/9).
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