Netflix Finally Taking a Swing at Live Sport
A rumoured celebrity golf tournament might just be the start.
Going through The Addition archives, it dawned on me that I have not written about sport for basically the whole of 2023. This will be to the amazement of readers who know me personally (or follow me on Twitter,) as I normally can’t go six minutes without discussing sport of some kind. Given that acquiring sports rights is becoming an increasingly significant part of streamers’ plans to keep you paying, it is important to look at where things are.
In January, I wrote:
Realising it’s key to bringing in new subscribers, more services are getting into the game too. Google recently acquired the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket for $2 billion per year, meaning some NFL games will now be broadcast via YouTube TV. Indeed, there is a general acceptance that more and more sports rights are going to head to streamers.
One of the services I didn’t mention in the context of sports coverage was Netflix, for good reason. The streamer creates sports content such as the extremely popular “Drive to Survive”, “Full Swing” and newcomer “Tour de France: Unchained”, but does not have the rights to broadcast live events. Its disastrous “Love is Blind” reunion rather proved why it has been so nervous about getting into the game. Live is hard.
However, the Wall Street Journal reported that it might be dipping its toe into the water with a live gold tournament featuring professional players and Formula 1 drivers.
The company is in early discussions about the golf tournament, some of the people said. Set in Las Vegas, the event would feature celebrities from “Drive to Survive,” a docuseries about Formula One auto-racing, and “Full Swing,” which followed professional golfers during the 2022 season, they said.
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