Churchill Downs, the US horse racing, gaming, and online entertainment company that owns the Kentucky Derby, has extended its major domestic media rights deal with Comcast’s NBC Sports and Peacock streaming service.

Via a multi-year renewal of the pair’s existing partnership, through 2032, NBC becomes the longest-running media rights partner of the iconic horse racing event.

The national network first began showing the Kentucky Derby, which takes place annually in Louisville, Kentucky, domestically in 2001. The last renewal between NBC Universal and Churchill Downs was struck in 2014 (beginning in 2016) and was set to run through 2025.

The renewal involves rights, on a multi-platform basis, to the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, and Derby and Oaks Day programming. These will be covered on NBC, Peacock, USA Network, and additional NBCUniversal platforms.

The deal was unveiled ahead of the 150th Kentucky Derby, which took place on Saturday (April 7) and secured the highest domestic audience since 1989, as an average of 16.7 million viewers tuned in.

The race also secured a household rating on US TV of 7.5, and a market share of 27%. Ratings increased by 9% and viewership by 13% from the 2023 figures.

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Audience figures peaked at 20.1 million between 7pm and 7:15pm Eastern Time.

The only sporting events this year with a larger audience have been American football games and the NCAA women's basketball national championship.

Of the average 16.7 million audience, 714,000 came in through streaming platforms.

Before this year's event, UK-based horse racing agency HBA Media announced it had secured multiple new broadcast deals for the Kentucky Derby.

New deals included with TransVision in Indonesia, NTV in Mongolia, and Sony Pictures Network in the Indian subcontinent.

In total, the Derby had 21 broadcast outlets, not including the various news agencies, reaching over 170 territories.