The fourth season will be Netflix’s documentary series about Formula 1, “Drive to Survive,” There was plenty to show that the streaming service had a point: Grand Prix attendance, ratings, and merchandise sales were all on the rise.
Also Netflix executives began discussions with the show’s producers: What other sports are out there?
“It really showed us that the ceiling was much higher than we might have thought,” Brandon Riegg said, “The…” Netflix vice-president of nonfiction series.
On Wednesday, Netflix’s latest sports documentary series, “Full Swing,” which focuses on men’s professional golf, will become available, just weeks after its tennis-focused series, “Break Point,” debuted.
Over the years Netflix Even though streaming competitors like YouTube, Amazon and Apple have been aggressively pursuing them, executives are refusing to pay for rights to broadcast live sports. Netflix is instead pursuing a more modest strategy, building out a sports lineup focused on telling the stories beyond the leaderboard — and at a considerably smaller cost than for licensing rights to live games.
It’s not obvious if “Full Swing” Or “Break Point” The impact of will almost match the one from “Drive to Survive.” Ratings for the Australian Open men’s final, which took place a little more than two weeks after “Break Point” was published. hit a decade low.
Nevertheless, Netflix executives are confident in focusing on leagues that haven’t “really been covered in an exhaustive way compared to some other sports,” Mr. Riegg said. Professional golfers and tennis players are excited about the possibility of having access to these courses. Netflix’s 230 million paying subscribers, and are hopeful of the kind of bump that Formula 1 received from “Drive to Survive.”
“It turned people not into just ‘What is F1?’ but it turned people into actual die-hard fans in the U.S. that would turn it on Sunday morning — it’s on at like 5 a.m.,” Collin Morikawa (26-year-old Japanese golfer) said that he has won both the British Open as well the P.G.A. Championship in an interview on a Arizona putting green.
For some time, the PGA Tour has been looking to do a documentary series to help raise the sport’s profile. The tour’s executives met with them in June 2017. Netflix Talks with officials about possibility of series. Netflix Passed at that time, as it hadn’t yet decided on its sports strategy. “too unbaked,” Mr. Riegg recalled.
The Race to Rule Streaming TV
The next year will see the premieres of new series. “Nailed It!” And “Queer Eye,” Netflix In unscripted television, investors began to invest heavily. In early 2020, the documentary on Aaron Hernandez, a former football player and convicted of murder was hugely popular. “Drive to Survive” Soon after, it was a huge hit.
Live sports rights are a subject of almost constant discussion for years. Netflix Meetings with leaders. But even as executives have considered it, they have always settled in the same place: The company’s money is better spent elsewhere.
“We’re not in the business of live sports rights. We’re not in the business of renting,” Mr. Riegg said.
Netflix Mr. Riegg indicated that he was open to producing documentary series on other popular American sports, such as football and basketball. However, it will need to have the same access as Formula 1 and Tennis.
“Whether it’s live sports or documentaries or shows or fictional shows about sports, sports resonate with almost everybody in some way, so Netflix knows that,” Chris Wandell, a PGA Tour executive and key figure in negotiations regarding the documentary series, said:
Not long after Netflix’s cameras began rolling, men’s professional golf turned into a soap opera, with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund investing billions of dollars into the rival LIV Golf, a league that drew the defections of several major PGA Tour players, including Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson. The last year has seen lawsuits as well as intense debates about ethics, greed and human right.
Similar “Drive to Survive,” the series focuses on behind-the-scenes story lines, and producers gained access to players’ locker rooms, homes and private jets. Jordan Spieth and Mr. Morikawa are stars. Joel Dahmen is a lower-profile player.
“As soon as they said all of the people from ‘Drive to Survive’ are coming over and are going to do this, that’s immediate credibility,” Mr. Dahmen said.
Executives and players said that they would welcome a channel that didn’t broadcast their sport.
“Netflix’s track record is pretty good, and it’s the best in this space,” said Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the R&A, the governing body that organizes the British Open. “What is good about them is they are truly a global platform, and I think if we had gone for a streaming that was more just U.S., U.K., I don’t think we would have had the impact, and I’m not sure I would be as excited about it.”
This series aims to show golf in a different way than the traditional. “somewhat staid coverage on CBS,” He was referring to a veteran golf broadcaster.
“People think golf is a gentlemen’s sport,” In the first episode, Mr. Koepka stated the following: In order to discredit such a belief, he said: “Competitors!” “want to step on my throat, and I want to step on theirs.”
Formula 1 fans are a bit hardcore, they might be able to make it work. tennis fans grouse that The Netflix documentaries better serve newbies, “Full Swing” It can sometimes be just as elementary. This episode covers the basics of scoring, as well as what a Bogey is.
“You know how hard it is to explain ‘par’ in one sentence?” Chad Mumm was the chief creator at Vox Media Studios. Vox Media Studios produced Box to Box. “Full Swing.” Also produced in a Box-to-Box format “Drive to Survive” And “Break Point.”)
Netflix As of yet, has not committed to another season. “Full Swing.” But at last week’s Phoenix Open at T.P.C. Scottsdale, “Full Swing” Camera crews were visible.
It can still reach the heights. “Drive to Survive,” Many players believe that. “Full Swing” This can only add value to your tour.
“If we can just get a fraction of that,” Mr. Morikawa said, “we’re doing pretty well.”