Netflix quietly competes for sports rights

Netflix is reportedly changing its position on live sports and is even engaging in talks with a number of leagues to scoop up rights.

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Netflix quietly competes for sports rights


The Future. Netflix is reportedly changing its position on live sports and is even engaging in talks with a number of leagues to scoop up rights — all on the down-low. It may be too little, too late, considering how many leagues are already called for. But if Netflix can win out on a major league, it may be a coup for attracting brands to its new ad tier.

Get in the game
Netflix wants a live-sports audience.

  • According to Deadline, the company has been looking to acquire the rights to either a pro sports league or marquee sporting events — all under the radar.
  • It was in discussions to purchase the rights to several tennis tours or the World Surf League, but there’s no confirmation of where those talks are.

Netflix seems to know that it needs sports to pump subscriber growth, especially in the US. One insider said, “Sports is the baseline now, we all know it, and finding the right properties, the right leagues is a priority, but it is always a question of the right league, the right deal.”

We’re sure it wishes it could have rights to broadcast Formula 1 races, considering the long-running success of its docuseries Formula 1: Drive to Survive. Maybe a deal with Lewis Hamilton could give the company an edge.

Home run programming
While Netflix may want a sports league, most major ones are already spoken for.

  • Amazon picked up the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, which has been successfully drawing a large audience and has been heralded as a mostly glitch-free experience.
  • NBCUniversal’s Peacock has been streaming games from Major League Baseball and, of course, the Olympics, which also broadcasts on NBC.
  • Apple has struck a unique partnership with Major League Soccer to develop a new streaming outlet that will be managed by both the tech giant and the league.

And Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has signaled that the soon-to-be-combined HBO Max and Discovery+ could take the NBA when its deal comes up for renewal in 2025. Currently, NBA games are broadcast on Warner’s TNT.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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