Streaming giant Netflix is reportedly considering venturing into live-streamed sports by offering access to a celebrity golf tournament featuring Formula 1 drivers.
The move comes as streamer aims to capitalize on the success of its Formula 1 docuseries and explore new avenues in the sports streaming market. The event, set to take place in Las Vegas, will involve drivers from documentary series on motorsport. This initiative allows Netflix to test the waters in providing live events to niche sports fans and assess the potential success before delving further into popular sports.
In a recent statement, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos expressed the company’s openness to bidding on sports rights, emphasizing that the company is focused on profitability rather than being opposed to sports content. However, securing rights to major sports franchises in the United States is challenging, as most are already held by mainstream media brands for multiple years.
Netflix is not expected to be a serious contender for rights to popular sports like NFL, MLB, or NHL games. Instead, the streaming service is likely to target more niche sports such as cycling and tennis to expand its advertising business and attract underserved streamers.
Netflix’s previous attempt to acquire domestic telecast rights for Formula 1 races was unsuccessful, losing out to the Walt Disney Company and ESPN. Despite this setback, Netflix has been experimenting with live content in other genres, including stand-up comedy. Earlier this year, it provided live streaming access to a Chris Rock special, which is still available on-demand.
The streaming giant plans to engage sports enthusiasts and utilize their global streaming platform. The celebrity golf tournament featuring Formula 1 drivers marks the beginning of Netflix’s venture into live sports streaming, with plans to explore opportunities in other sports as well.