Netflix Watches Live Sports and Softly Bids on Leagues and Rights –

Netflix is ​​looking to get off the bench and get into the live sports game.

In recent months, the streamer has been quietly trying to acquire the rights to a number of leagues and events. meeting can confirm. In particular, deals for several tennis tours and a buyer of the World Surf League, such as that, were under discussion Wall Street Journal first reported earlier today. So far, none of these agreements have been implemented to any degree.

Even with all the big leagues and events from the Premier League to the NFL, World Cricket and the Olympics tied into long-term deals, the streamer stays on the hunt.

“Sports is the foundation now, we all know that, and finding the right properties, the right leagues, is a priority, but it’s always a matter of the right league, the right deal,” a Netflix insider said meeting. Officially, Netflix had no comment on being contacted meeting whether or not they have bid at sporting events or leagues.

Not that the streamer was sport-free from the start. In addition to documentaries about the beautiful game and more, Netflix has invested heavily to get on track Formula 1: Drive to survive. The high-profile, high-octane documentary launched in March 2019 and was renewed for a fifth and sixth season in May.

However, the idea of ​​live sports — or live programming of any kind — on Netflix has long been publicly opposed by the company’s management team. But the realities of 2022, when the company experienced a rare drop in its subscriber base and a concomitant sell-off in its shares, have forced a review. While the company has often priced its “total available market” at one billion subscribers (well above its current level of about 223 million), privately it has begun to view the benefits of esports as enrichment.

In an interview with Netflix on its third-quarter earnings, co-CEO Reed Hastings was asked about the near-term future of streaming, especially now that there are more players running advertising rather than subscription-only businesses. Hastings pointed to the likelihood that the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package will be the next frontrunner to migrate from its longtime home on DirecTV to streaming. Afterwards, the manager argued: “You will see that a lot of people focus on sports and broadcast that on demand.”

The sports sector has dramatically accelerated its shift to streaming in recent years. Amazon has launched an 11-year NFL exclusivity Thursday night soccer, and both Apple TV+ and Peacock snagged exclusive windows for Major League Baseball last season. Even regional sports networks, a holdover from the cable TV boom, have taken steps to bridge the digital divide. Diamond Sports, the Sinclair Broadcast Group-backed operator of nearly two dozen Bally sports networks, recently began rolling out a $20-a-month streaming service aimed at rabid sports fans.

Amazon’s successful NFL streams have largely allayed long-standing concerns about the technical challenges of bringing linear broadcasts – now with even more at stake given legalized sports betting – to the cloud. Latency, the technical term for a lag between the action on the field and what streaming subscribers see on their screen, remains an issue. Aside from some minor disruptions in week 1, Prime Video has handled a concurrent audience of 8-10 million viewers with no widespread outages.

Apple’s recent partnership with Major League Soccer points to another possible direction. The tech giant didn’t just license rights. Rather, it has partnered with MLS to create a brand new streaming outlet that both companies will manage. This gives the streamer more of a share in its success. At Netflix, executives brooding over finances have raised concerns about the idea of ​​hopping in and out on the sports rights merry-go-round. Netflix in general has had to pause its longstanding increase in content spending at the current level of about $17 billion a year.


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