Following are metrics from the 2016 Triple Crown races that depict business performance.
Kentucky Derby. On-track attendance was the second highest in history, 167,227 compared to 170,513 in 2015. Betting handle on the Kentucky Derby card was also the second highest ever at $192.6 million.
The entire Derby telecast averaged 15.5 million viewers with 17.9 million tuning in for the actual race portion of the telecast. The Nielsen rating was 9.0 during the race, down from 9.6 in 2015. This was the fourth consecutive year that the race attracted over 15 million viewers.
Preakness Stakes. Despite heavy rain in Baltimore, the Preakness had record attendance of 135,256 and betting handle for the entire card was $94.1 million, the most bet since 2005.
The overall Preakness telecast averaged a rating of 6.2, compared to 5.8 last year, and the race portion garnered a rating of 8.0.
Belmont Stakes. Attendance at Belmont Park depends to a large extent on whether a horse has a chance to complete the Triple Crown. Nyquist’s loss in the Preakness ended that possibility. His absence from the Belmont due to spiking a fever also meant that the race could not be billed as a rubber match with Exaggerator.
The Belmont Stakes brought on-track attendance of 60,114. Betting handle on the card was $99.4 million. The last time there was no chance for a Triple Crown winner was in 2013, when attendance was 47,562 and handle was $88.5 million. The Belmont telecast averaged a rating of 4.3 and the rating for the race portion was 5.1. American Pharoah’s Triple Crown win in 2015 had a rating of 12.3 for the race.
In 2013, a journalist published an article titled “Top 10 Diminished Sporting Events,” which listed the Kentucky Derby and the Indianapolis 500. Diminished? Consider that an astounding 1 in every 873 American residents attended the 2016 Indianapolis 500 (369,000 people) and 1 in every 1,905 U. S. residents were at Churchill Downs on 2016 Kentucky Derby day. Kentucky Oaks day on Friday also drew a huge crowd of about 125,000, a record, and betting handle was a record as well.
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