Saturday’s 140th running of the Kentucky Derby was celebrated with 140 characters that comprise a Tweet. While the Derby has been deemed the greatest two minutes in sports, the conversation on Twitter — with special programming online and on-air powered by @KentuckyDerby and NBC Sports Network (@NBCSN) — went on far longer.
The event telecast itself generated 292,000 Tweets by 180,000 authors that were seen by 6.5 million people, according to the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings (NTTR) from Nielsen Social (@NielsenSocial).
On the red carpet, @NBCSN tweeted photos of celebrities making their predictions and showing off their outfits via the Twitter Mirror.
NBC also tweeted custom-made Vine videos by Vine artist Ian Padgham (@origiful). The Vine videos, as well as the Twitter Mirror photos, were featured on NBC’s broadcast.
Tweeting was not just about horse racing per se; they also showcased the culture and other unique aspects of the derby. For instance, @NBCSN tweeted about mint juleps, including an infographic and this Vine video.
Online, the centerpiece of NBC Sports’ social hub was the Paddock 140 area, which featured Tweets, photos, trending topics and hashtags. In addition, fans could add their first and last names to get their “Horse Name” — to share on Twitter.
On air, NBC showcased live-tweeting from celebrities and experts and encouraged viewers to tweet their own Derby party photos with #DerbyParty.
The @KentuckyDerby account also offered exclusive content from the real stars of the day: the horses. In the days leading up to the race, @KentuckyDerby handed over the reins, so to speak. Wildcat Red was one of the #KYDerby horses to “take over” the account, and even shared a selfie.
@KentuckyDerby also provided photos from the venue before and during the festivities in addition to fun facts and more.
At Churchill Downs, the site of the Derby, the video board displayed Tweets with #KYDerby. The red carpet area also featured two monitors running Tweets and trending topics.
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*Editor's note: As of November 2017, Twitter has increased the character count of Tweets in certain languages to make it easier to share what’s happening.