David Zurawik

Preakness TV audience down about 10 percent year to year in Baltimore — and twice that nationally

The field breaks from the gate for the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday.

The TV audience in Baltimore for Saturday’s Preakness race was down 10.65 percent compared with that in 2018.

Those are household figures from Nielsen that measure the size of the audience during the actual running of the race. They are provided by WBAL-TV, the NBC affiliate that aired NBC’s coverage of the race in the Baltimore market.


In 2018, the race scored a 17.19 rating, while Saturday’s was rated at 15.36.

That translates roughly to the race being viewed in about 183,589 homes in 2018 vs. 164,044 in the Baltimore TV market Saturday.


For the full quarter hour in which the race was run, the Baltimore rating dropped from 14.1 in 2018 to 13.0 Saturday, or about 8 percent.

Overnight ratings were down 21 percent nationally with NBC Sports reporting a rating of 4.3 rating for its full telecast Saturday vs. 5.5 last year. (Rating is the percent of all TVs in a given universe. This one is the nation.)

Baltimore led all markets for viewing of the race, according to Nielsen data provided by NBC Sports.

Top overall ratings by market for NBC’s Preakness Stakes telecast:

1 - Baltimore 14.0

2 - Louisville 10.8

3 - Ft. Myers 9.2

4 - Buffalo 8.4


5 – West Palm Beach 7.0

6 - Indianapolis 6.6

6 - Tulsa 6.6

8 - Cincinnati 6.5

9 – Knoxville 6.0

9 - New Orleans 6.0