Kentucky Derby: How The Biggest Horse Racing Event of The Year Compares To Other US Sports Events

There are few more exciting occasions on the calendar than when the biggest sporting events come around. While the vast majority of viewers will watch the biggest events due to their interest in the sport throughout the season, it is typically these significant events that gain the attention of the mainstream audience, meaning that there will be more eyes than normal on the respective sports.

One of the biggest international events on the calendar in the United States is the Kentucky Derby, which is staged annually on the first Saturday in May. But how does the Triple Crown opener compare with other American events throughout the year?

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most famous events in the world of sport, with the event labelled as the ‘most exciting two minutes in sports’. This race kicks off the Triple Crown series in the United States, with Churchill Downs hosting the iconic race for horses aged three. It has created some of the most famous moments in horse racing, and legends are crowned if they can claim victories in the Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.

The Kentucky Derby is one of the oldest ongoing sporting events in the country. The first edition was staged in 1875. It has been run every year throughout history, with only two exceptions, when the race was moved to later in the season.

It is the most attended horse racing event in the United States, and it is one of the most betted on in the country, with hundreds of millions betted every year. Find more info on the road to the derby here:

Interest in the Kentucky Derby remains at an all-time high, mirrored by its status as one of the most-watched events on the planet. Stats show that an average of 16.6 million viewers watch the race on a regular basis, which is considerably higher than the viewing figures boasted by The Masters and the NCAA Final Four.

Super Bowl

There is little surprise that the most watched American sporting event on the calendar is the Super Bowl. The championship game in the NFL attracts massive viewing figures yearly, with 115.1 million regularly tuning in to watch this mix of sports and entertainment. However, despite ranking among the most-watched events in the United States, in terms of a global audience, the Super Bowl still falls way short in terms of most-watched events, with the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, and Cricket World Cup all enjoying higher figures.

The Super Bowl has been staged annually since 1966, replacing the NFL Championship Game. For the last three years, the game has been held on the second Sunday in February, marking a later start than was the case between 1967 and 2003, when the Super Bowl would take place in late January.

It is a hugely lucrative event in the world of sports, with commercial airtime during the Super Bowl coverage being among the most expensive of the year. Therefore, special ads are typically aired during the sporting event, with many fans tuning in especially to watch the half-time show. The Super Bowl is also revered for being the second-largest event on the American calendar in terms of food consumption following Thanksgiving.

World Series

Baseball is traditionally regarded as the most international sport played in the United States, with many of the MLB’s best players coming from nations such as Cuba and Puerto Rico. The World Series has been held every season in October since 1903, making it one of the oldest sporting events in the country. Winning the World Series is also extremely testing, as teams will compete in a best-of-seven series.

The World Series continues to be one of the most watched sporting events on the calendar in the United States. As of last season, it had been played 119 times. American League (AL) teams have won the series on 68 previous occasions, with the National League (NL) team winning on 51 occasions throughout history.

FOX continues to hold the rights to broadcast the World Series, with each of the previous 24 editions of this event also hosted on Foxl. It is a major event for the company, and they will continue to have the rights until at least 2028.

However, the World Series does struggle in terms of viewing figures, as it ranks lower than the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, and the Kentucky Derby. Stats have shown that an average of 14.73 million fans watch the World Series on a regular basis, which is less than the number of fans that watch other sporting events such as Wimbledon and the Rugby World Cup.

Flickr user Jeff Kubina, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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