Netflix. Sports. Many of you may be wondering the correlation. Afterall, the movie streaming app is the platform to watch the latest movies and reminisce on memories with old-time movies. However, people in sports are creating a nexus between the streaming platform and their sports, as it offers a very huge opportunity to reach millions of individuals: a market to reach new leads and firm up interest from those that love the sport already.
The Last Dance, a Netflix series chronicling the successes of the Chicago Bulls, the dominant NBA team in the 1990s and placing emphasis as Michael Jordan, had about 23.8 million viewers from around the world in its first month.
This article highlights how Netflix is gaining in-roads into the world of sports.
The Formula 1 angle
Let’s take Formula 1 for instance. It’s one of the largest sports in the world. It generates more than $2 billion in revenue, and that was during a non-pandemic year. Of the 20+ races annually, more than 90 million people watch, but there is one interesting stat. Only 500,000 people watch the race in the United States, which represented 0.5% of its global viewership, and it’s something the Formula 1 bosses are actively working on.
In 2017, Liberty Media acquired Formula One for $4.4 billion, they had one plan: improve their viewership in the US market, and one way they felt they could do this was through video streaming. Step forward, Netflix. With over 74 million subscribers in the United States and Canada, Formula 1 bosses understand the need to expand into the world’s largest economy. They launched a streaming platform called F1TV, an over-the-top (OTT) platform, priced at an affordable price of $4 per Grand Prix. This gives you access to every practice, qualifying, and race session. They even set up an esports series, which had 80% of its audience being 35 years and under.
They launched a partnership/TV series with Netflix, called Drive to Survive, and its impact has been nothing short of remarkable. They are providing fans, especially younger people, the opportunity to see never-seen-before access into the secrets to the world championship series. They are also revealing things like friendships and rivalries fail to capture. The result was an astonishing 70% increase in total US viewership, in just over 4 seasons.
The much controversial 2021 F1 season that saw Max Verstappen win the championship ahead of Lewis Hamilton was the most-watched season is US history, establishing the long-standing fact about the propensity of US sports fans towards controversy and drama in sports.
The PGA Tour has followed suit
Golf, the sport made famous by the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods has long been tagged as the sport of the elite, and has struggled to reach a wider target demography, especially among younger sports-inclined fans. However, recent signs suggest that it might be learning a thing or two from Formula 1.
The PGA Tour announced its partnership with Netflix, Vox Media Studios and Box to Box films, to create something of a tour-centric series. It would document the activities of the biggest names in golf when they are on tour, as it aims to provide their fans with a closer and more personal connection to these stars. They started filming the series back in December at the Hero World Championship, although the golfers have the
The 100-year-old professional golf organization is working with the same group that produced F1’s Drive To Survive—Netflix, Vox Media Studios, and Box to Box Films—and already started filming back at the Hero World Championship in December. According to Dylan Dethier at Golf.com, there are a total of 10 of the top 20 players in the world are on board, with the most high-profile golfer missing on the list, Tiger Woods, still recuperating after his terrible accident in February 2021.
The case for Amazon Prime
Netflix is not the only video streaming platform making waves in sports. Amazon Prime, the video streaming arm of the Amazon brand is making great inroads, and it’s partnership with some Premier League teams, such as Manchester City and Tottenham, creates an even bigger level of excitement among fans. The Premier League is undoubtedly one of the biggest leagues in the world and has billions of fans tuning in every weekend, making its teams one of the most talked-about sports teams in the world.
The possibilities of video streaming in sports are seemingly endless and sports teams and these platforms should always look at positive collaborations to ensure maximum reach, engagement and revenue. They are only scratching the surface at the moment. Naira Metrics