NBC says there will be more coverage of Preakness events than ever on national TV thanks to Versus, the Comcast-owned sports-oriented cable channel, that will start carrying Preakness events at 3 p.m. Friday.
First up, its "Preakness Classics," from 3 to 4 p.m., followed by "Black Eyes Susan Stakes" from 4 to 5.
Versus will also be offering live coverage of the festivities at Pimlico from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Preakness itself will be covered on NBC from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by a 30-minute wrap-up on Versus.
In Comcast in Baltimore City, Versus is on Channel 2. It has a prime location and is easy to find on all Comcast systems in the Mid-Atlantic because Comcast owns the channel and is the dominant cable distributor in the region.
NBC's coverage of the Kentucky Derby drew 14.5 million viewers -- making it the fourth most watched Derby in 21 years. Even though that's a big audience, it was down from the 16.5 million who watched the Derby last year on NBC.
Coverage of Derby-related events on Versus drew an average audience of about 280,000 viewers. Baltimore Preakness events should draw in the 200,000-plus range.