Netflix is set to stream its first-ever sporting show. And yes, you may think that it’s just celebrity golf, but one thing for sure is that this is definitely just how it starts.
Netflix First-Ever Sporting Show
The first live-streamed sporting event of Netflix could be coming this very fall. The Wall Street Journal reports that the streaming company is in talks to create a new, celebrity-driven golf tournament to hold in Las Vegas that would include some of the stars of other sports content on the service such as Drive to Survive and Full Swing. (Disclosure: Vox Media Studios produced Full Swing, and The Verge produced a series with Netflix just recently.)
The talks regarding the event are apparently early, but a custom, talent-driven golf tournament really makes perfect sense as the first foray of Netflix into sports streaming. Streaming live sports as you should know is high-stakes, hard, and really expensive, and the deals for big-name events in the industry are ever more cutthroat. (Netflix also was reportedly trying to wrest Formula 1 coverage away from ESPN, but however failed to do so.)
There is a reason that the first-ever broadcast of ESPN was of a slow-pitch softball game and that Yahoo broadcast a London NFL game in the wee hours of the American morning just before trying anything that was more complicated. And even those more conservative attempts in question don’t really always go well according to plan.
Netflix’s Live-Streaming Reputation
Netflix’s very own live-streaming reputation isn’t exactly sterling, either. Back in April, its Love is Blind live reunion show was such a spectacular failure that the service even got to cancel the live aspect of the show altogether. It however did manage to stream a Chris Rock comedy special without any form of hiccups.
Streaming company Netflix has since been interested in live content since at least 2022, and has even signaled its interest in sports for many years now, but has always said that it is looking for the right moment to get in the game. The company so far, has invested heavily in documentaries, to great success as many people credit Drive to Survive with single-handedly making Formula 1 very popular in the United States, and Full Swing and Break Point have quite been hits for golf and tennis as well. The company is even signed up to do an NFL version, known as Quarterback, that is scheduled to drop this very summer.
This Could Be a Test of Netflix’s Live-Streaming Strengths
A one-off golf tournament as you should know could be a test case for Netflix to prove to leagues as well as advertisers that it can handle more complex events. It also could be a signal of strategy as the company has shown that it can use documentaries and behind-the-scenes content to make people get to care about sports that they previously knew nothing about, so just maybe Netflix’s sports strategy will be much more underwater hockey than NHL hockey and more toe wrestling than WWE on the other hand.
They would however give Netflix plenty of content to stream no doubt, as well as plenty of good intellectual property to make shows about. You should not be surprised to see Netflix’s sports network look like Drive to Survive, but for every other type of sport that you can possibly imagine.
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