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Grab a Mint Julep Kentucky Derby Popularity on the Rise

1 minute read | May 2011

Whether due to love of horse racing or mint juleps and big hats, the Kentucky Derby continues to grow in popularity. New analysis by The Nielsen Company reveals that online buzz about the Kentucky Derby grew significantly from 2009 to 2010, and the Kentucky Derby remains the most buzzed about competition in the Triple Crown historically. The Kentucky Derby has also seen steady TV viewership gains in U.S.; the race drew 16.5 million viewers in 2010.

Online buzz about Triple Crown races, including the Kentucky Derby, in 2009-2010

Derby takes the Crown

Comparing U.S. buzz about the Triple Crown races, Nielsen found that the Kentucky Derby had the most buzz in 2009 and 2010, and is off to an early lead in 2011. Close behind the Derby’s buzz is the Belmont Stakes, which despite being the final race in the series makes up significantly more buzz than the Preakness Stakes.

The introduction of an official smartphone app for the Derby in 2010 might be behind the rise in buzz as the app makes it easier for fans and attendees to post buzz on Twitter and Facebook. This year, the Preakness is also introducing an app, which should keep the races competitive for their share of social media buzz.

Bring your “Crown,” but leave your “Hats” at home

While the cultural accoutrements make the Derby a colorful event celebrated outside of Louisville, Ky., local traditions like the Derby Marathon and Churchill Downs are the most popular topics outside the race itself. Overall, the majority of Derby buzz is about the race itself than about the personalities who attend the race each year.

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