NBC isn’t wasting any time taking advantage of its winning ticket. Spokesman Greg Hughes said Sunday that NBC and its NBC Sports Network cable channel, which planned to combine for 6˝ hours of total Belmont Stakes coverage, will now “have extensive additional coverage.”
And why not? The Belmont, which will air June 9, gets some of the most malleable TV ratings in sports that fluctuate depending on whether the field includes a horse in position to win racing’s Triple Crown. I’ll Have Another’s Preakness win drew just a 5.5 overnight race rating — down 8% from last year and lowest since NBC took over for ABC — but the horse’s performance likely will have a big effect on NBC’s Belmont rating.
In case you’re wondering why Bob Costas wasn’t part of NBC’s Preakness coverage, he was at his daughter’s college graduation — and will be back for the Belmont.