NEW YORK (AP) — American Pharoah's historic Triple Crown win has drawn the third-best television rating for the Belmont Stakes since that started being measured in 1988.
With the competition over so quickly, horse racing doesn't benefit from a dramatic contest in the way other sports do. The race portion of NBC's broadcast Saturday ran from 6:15-7:15 p.m. EDT, so only the final third of it came after American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.
The 18.6 million viewers were down from the 20.5 million for California Chrome's Triple Crown attempt last year. Ratings for the Belmont tend to be driven by the appeal of horse's back story that lures viewers in from the start.
The Stanley Cup Final Game 2 that started immediately after the Belmont seemed to benefit from the lead-in. NBC said Monday that the Tampa Bay Lightning's 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks drew 6.6 million viewers, the most for a non-clinching game since at least 1994, which is as far as records go back.