Netflix makes moves for sports streaming rights including ATP and WTA tennis

  • Netflix has reportedly made a bid for ATP in the UK and is considering a WTA move
  • Ownership should also be considered to achieve global reach

According to the Wall Street Journal, Netflix is ​​considering a major strategic U-turn by investing in live sports rights for its streaming platform.

The US newspaper says Netflix recently bid for the rights to the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour in several European markets, including France and the UK, before withdrawing from the race and is considering a move for the women’s Tennis Association (WTA). Tour in Great Britain.

Netflix previously scrapped the idea of ​​buying sports rights, believing they’re too expensive, fragmented, and short-lived to be of significant value. It has also traditionally preferred owning its own content that it can publish on a global scale.

However, falling subscriber numbers mean the company is rethinking its stance, reportedly delving into lesser-known sporting events that wouldn’t require a significant premium.

It believes the reach of its platform means it can elevate such properties to a global phenomenon, emulating some of the successes it has had with non-live sports content such as Formula 1 docu-series Drive to Survive and The Last Dance from the year 2020 has achieved.

Netflix is ​​also said to be considering an acquisition of the World Surf League (WSL), a move that would give it both ownership and global rights.

Netflix has been contacted for comment.

SportsPro says…

Netflix’s influence on the world of broadcasting cannot be underestimated. Its simple, flexible, and affordable subscription model fundamentally challenged the idea that access to premium content required dedicated devices, a long contract, and significant costs.

The company has remained at the forefront of the streaming revolution, using its economies of scale to invest billions in content it can make available to subscribers around the world. Unlike rivals Disney or Amazon, it has never seen the need for sports.

However, sports is capable of attracting a whole new audience that cannot be reached with The Crown or The Witcher. A combination of sports and entertainment will also strengthen Netflix’s position as a key budgetary asset and reduce churn.

It’s unlikely that lesser-known rights will attract many new subscribers, but if the reported interest amounts to anything concrete, it will be fascinating to see if Netflix can pull off a “hit” in the same way that it did with the recent surge in content interest in Formula 1.

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