Originally posted on Awful Announcing  |  Last updated 6/9/14
California Chrome’s run for the Triple Crown led to a monster rating for NBC on Saturday.  The race was watched by 20.6 million viewers, the second most watched Belmont Stakes going back to 1988.  It’s also the most watched weekend sporting event this year since the Winter Olympics. Just how big is an audience of 20.8 million viewers?  More people watched the Belmont Stakes than Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (4.7 million viewers) and the NBA Finals (14.9 million viewers) combined.  Combined!  That’s incredible. Here’s NBC’s release on the massive Belmont rating… California Chrome’s run for history, which concluded in a dead-heat tie for fourth place as Tonalist won the race, averaged 20.6 million viewers – the second-highest Belmont Stakes viewership on record, trailing only the 21.9 million viewers for NBC’s telecast of Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown attempt in 2004 (People Meter viewership dates to 1988).  The 2014 Belmont Stakes is the most-watched weekend sporting event since NBC’s primetime telecast of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Sunday, February 16 (21.3 million). The 2014 Belmont Stakes (6:23-7:15 p.m. ET) topped by 57% the average viewership for the last Belmont in which a Triple Crown was at stake (13.1 million on ABC in 2008 for Big Brown).     NBC’s Belmont Stakes registered a 12.0/27 household rating – a 46% increase over the 8.2/20 for ABC’s Big Brown telecast in 2008, and ranking as the third-highest rated Belmont since Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown in 1977. NBC’s telecast of Smarty Jones’ bid in 2004 registered a 13.1/29, and CBS’ coverage of Pleasant Colony’s Triple Crown attempt in 1981 posted a 12.6/36. NBC’s 4.0 rating among Adults 18-49 ranked as the highest in the demographic since the 2004 Belmont Stakes, and tied the 2003 Belmont as the second-highest in People Meter history. NBC’s Belmont viewership and rating increased by 194% and 167% respectively over the 2013 race won by Palace Malice (7.0 million viewers and 4.5/11 HH rating). Locally, Belmont Stakes ratings increased in 53 of 56 metered markets vs. the last Triple Crown attempt in 2008, and were up in all 56 metered markets vs. the ’13 telecast.  The New York market, the home of the Belmont Stakes, registered a 15.8 rating/37 share which ranks as the second-highest ever in the market behind only Smarty Jones’ attempt in 2004 (20.5/38). Fans live streamed 6,798,019 million minutes of the Belmont Stakes on NBC Sports Live Extra — the NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – a record for any horse race streamed by NBC Sports Digital. Coverage included an isolation camera on California Chrome, bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators, and replays and footage from the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The Belmont Stakes was watched by 389,680 unique viewers. But here’s the other side of that Belmont rating.  Of course the spike came about because of California Chrome’s run at the Triple Crown, which was the first such attempt since 2008 when Big Brown pulled up during the race.  So there was definitely an appetite to see California Chrome attempting history.  However, the fact that California Chrome didn’t come close to winning, and the epic rant from owner Steve Coburn afterwards, might ingrain into the minds of sports fans that a Triple Crown will never happen again.  Take this pro wrestlingesque promo as the manifesto for the reasons why: If the people in horse racing don’t think there’s a realistic chance for another Triple Crown winner, what are fans supposed to believe?  As more and more horses come to the grueling Belmont fresh, it’s only going to become tougher and tougher for a horse to win the Triple Crown.  Will all those casual fans who came in for the race portion of the Belmont come back when the message being sent to them is that it’s impossible for a horse to win the Triple Crown in this day and age? For the sake of horse racing, the sport will hope the answer is no.  But if everyone is this pessimistic about seeing history made any time soon, then you have to wonder whether or not we’ll look back at the 2014 Belmont Stakes as a turning point in the history of horse racing – the last, best chance at the Triple Crown.  And the last time the nation truly embraced the chase.

This article first appeared on Awful Announcing and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Colts DL David Parry pleads guilty, faces three years in prison

Report: McCloughan running scouting service, advising NFL teams

NFL to honor late Steelers owner Dan Rooney during draft

Jimmy Garoppolo not sweating trade rumors as draft nears

Forrest Lamp signs deal to endorse lamp manufacturer

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tom Hanks taking ‘NFL moratorium’ when Raiders leave Oakland

Ex-Obama adviser touts Theo Epstein as potential candidate

Report: 49ers are not buying the Mitch Trubisky-to-Browns talk

Report: Browns source calls Garrett best draft talent in six years

Jaguars reportedly interested in Deshaun Watson at No. 4

Report: Teams believe Browns somehow will get Trubisky

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Box Score 4/27: Waiting for Goodell to call our name

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'Bonehead blunder that watered down the 1931 AL home run crown' quiz

Draft prospects we're most excited to see in the NFL

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

Box Score 4/26: NFL Draft eve

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'Bonehead blunder that watered down the 1931 AL home run crown' quiz

Draft prospects we're most excited to see in the NFL

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker