The possibility of a 2012 Triple Crown in June's Belmont Stakes is great news for I'll Have Another, the horse who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes to set it up, but it's even better news for the human sponsors and broadcasters of the event—USA Today reports on NBC's heightened ratings expectations here, in one of those pieces that seems completely obvious... the moment you read it.
Apparently the Belmont's ratings expectations more than double in years in which a Triple Crown contender emerges from the Preakness, bouncing from four percent to 10% of TV-watching households—which means I'll Have Another's late victory over Bodemeister probably made NBC much richer than all the gamblers at the track who bet on that particular exacta.
As sports programming becomes more important—in the age of watch-later dramas on TiVo and Hulu and Netflix and increasing reality TV competition—that boost could be huge to a struggling network like NBC. Although personally I'm just happy they renewed Parks and Recreation—they should consider this a kind of cosmic thank-you-note for keeping the best sitcom on television around for another year.
More 2012 Belmont Stakes coverage from SB Nation St. Louis: