NBC Sports rode its first telecast of the Belmont Stakes since 2005 to a 55% gain in the overnights from ABC's broadcast in 2010.
NBC's coverage of the third leg of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, won by 24-1 long shot Ruler on Ice, scored a 4.8 overnight rating and an 11 share for the race portion of the telecast -- 6:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. (ET). That was up 55% from the 3.1/7 for last year's race on ABC, according to Nielsen overnight data.
The pre-race segment from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., bolstered by a two-hour Belmont Access show on Verus that preceded the NBC broadcast rose 86% to a 2.6/6 from a 1.4/3. That was the best performance for a non-Triple Crown year since 2006, according to NBC officials.
NBC and Versus are now stablemates under Comcast's NBCUniversal
BELMONT STAKES OVERNIGHT RATINGS SINCE 2006 (Race Portion):
2011, 4.8/11, NBC
2010, 3.1/7, ABC
2009, 5.0/12, ABC (jockey Calvin Borel going for unprecedented jockey Triple Crown on two different horses, Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby and Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness).
2008, 9.5/21, ABC (Big Brown vying for Triple Crown)
2007, 3.5/8, ABC
2006, 3.8/9, ABC