SBD/May 20, 2013/Media

NBC Earns 6.0 Overnight Nielsen Rating For Preakness Stakes, Up 9% From '12

Media critics gave positive reviews of NBC's coverage of the Preakness
NBC earned a 6.0 overnight Nielsen rating for the race portion (5:45-6:45pm ET) of Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, which saw Oxbow win and deny Orb a shot at the Triple Crown. The rating is up 9% from a 5.5 overnight last year, which saw I’ll Have Another win the second leg of the Triple Crown by a nose. The pre-race coverage on NBC (5:00-5:45pm) earned a 3.6 overnight and was up 24% from ’12. Baltimore predictably was the top-rated local market for the race, earning a 15.7 rating. It was followed by Louisville, Oklahoma City and Knoxville (THE DAILY). In Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote when NBC Sports "floods the zone with members of its A-Team, the telecast is almost always a winner." That was again the case on Saturday, "thanks to airtight production, sure-handed direction and enough talent to cover three or four races." Bob Costas "gave NBC's pre-race show coverage a sense of authority, grace and intelligence." The opening block of coverage "was textbook in how a major sports event should be presented." Outside of Michelle Beadle, who "seemed to think she had to tell us something about herself every time she opened her mouth, viewers were given one solid piece of information and analysis after another about the race" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 5/18). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes NBC's coverage "wasn't quite as ambitious" as it was during the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, and it "wasn't nearly as splashy." But NBC's "reserved broadcast was appropriate." It was, when the "day ended, as comprehensive as it should have been." The entire on-air crew "was solid, and unlike the Kentucky Derby, NBC figured out a good use" for Beadle. Given a "more serious role, Beadle provided one of the highlights of the coverage: her interview with jockey Rosie Napravnik" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 5/20).

BUMPED BACK: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin writes NBC Sports Network had a "disjointed" broadcast of Saturday's Indianapolis 500 Fast Nine Shootout. With rain delaying the start of qualifying, IndyCar officials "decided to stage the pole competition at 6:30 p.m., which caught NBC Sports Network in a position of having to show" the Preakness post-race coverage. Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles said, "It was unfortunate. I'm glad it worked out that (the cable network) could come back for the last four qualifying runs and taped action of the other five" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/19).
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