May 07, 2013 9:11am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 2013 Kentucky Derby Fetches 16.2 Million Viewers, Nearing 2010 High
The Kentucky Derby proved a huge draw on Saturday afternoon. Up 9 percent compared with last year, the NBC broadcast brought in an average 16.2 million viewers.
Overnight returns had the Derby poised to tie the record gross from 2010, but final numbers have it coming in just shy of the 16.5 million haul. It's still up from the past two years -- and up from all non-2010 running since 18.5 million tuned in for the 1989 running on ABC.
Orb's big win during the race also fetched a 9.7 rating among households, just a tenth of a point shy of 2010.
NBC Sports has had the contract to air the Kentucky Derby for the past 12 runnings. Three of the past five have topped 16 million viewers.
Orb makes his next play to secure the Triple Crown on May 18 at the Preakness Stakes, also airing on NBC.