Netflix insists it has no interest in live sports.
“We’re in the sports business, but we’re in the part of the sports business where we add the most value, which is the drama of sports,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said on its third-quarter earnings call .
Sarandos was referring to sports documentary series like Urge to survive, full swing, quarterback And Beckham.
He added that there had been no “fundamental change” in live sports strategy. This comes after Netflix hosted its first live sporting event.
The streamer hosts the Netflix Cup, a golf tournament in which his drivers take part Formula 1: drive to survive Series and golfers from his Full of momentum show.
The event begins November 14 on an 18-hole championship golf course centered around the Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix and marks the first time Netflix has ever participated in a live sporting event.
In the Netflix Cup, four teams consisting of a driver and a golfer play an eight-hole match, with the top two teams advancing to the final hole. Drivers include Formula 1 drivers Alex Albon (Williams Racing); Pierre Gasly (BWT Alpine F1 Team); Lando Norris (McLaren Racing); and Carlos Sainz (Scuderia Ferrari) as well as PGA Tour golfers Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas.
Netflix’s rivals have stepped up their sports coverage; Google-owned YouTube has bought the rights to the NFL’s Sunday Ticket, Amazon Prime Video has the rights to Thursday Night Football, and Apple TV+ has rights to Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer, among others.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has long talked about not getting involved in live sports, saying the company saw “no profit prospect” in “renting major league sports.”
“We’re not saying it will never happen,” he said, “but the “dramatically expensive” rights have effectively made the sport a “loss leader.”
“We are not against sports,” Sarandos added. “We are simply profit-oriented. We still need to figure out how to do this.”
He has also not yet recognized the value of niche sports where the rights are cheaper. “I don’t know that these sports suffer from underdistribution,” Sarandos said. “So I don’t know if we would bring them that much.”
However, Netflix was reportedly keen to acquire the rights to Formula 1 in the US, but lost out to Disney-owned ESPN.
Given that Sarandos had also previously said it was not interested in a promotional plan for its service and launched one last year, what he says should be taken with a grain of salt.
But Sarandos reiterated that despite this sports strategy, it continues to invest “heavily” in its live capabilities, which hampered its reunion show for the dating format Love is blind.
“As the demand for it grows and we find different ways to allow vibrancy to be part of creative storytelling, we want to be able to do that at scale,” he added.
Source : deadline.com