Streaming giant Netflix Inc NFLX is well-known for its partnered content and original programming. Could live sports and a continued focus on sports docuseries be a huge growth driver for the company going forward?
What Happened: A new report from Front Office Sports highlighted Netflix having had discussions with the National Football League for a potential collaboration.
The news comes as the NFL is looking for a new partner for the rights to its media properties including NFL Network, NFL RedZone and NFL.com. The NFL is also auctioning off rights to NFL Sunday Ticket.
Apple Inc AAPL and Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN, two streaming rivals of Netflix, are among the companies interested in obtaining the rights from the NFL. Cable sports leader ESPN, a unit of Walt Disney Co DIS is also mentioned as a potential landing spot for increased NFL game coverage.
Why It’s Important: While a conversation with the NFL could include live sports, it seems more likely that Netflix could partner to create docuseries. The report from Front Office Sports mentions reality shows, documentaries, and other programming among the areas that could be targeted.
Netflix helped boost viewership and social media engagement for Formula One, a publicly-traded racing league traded as Liberty Media Formula One FWONAFWONK.
The NFL is working on growing its viewership outside of the U.S. Several international games are planned in the coming years along with increasing the amount of media rights deals landed in international markets.
Netflix ended 2021 with 221.8 million subscribers and counts many from international markets.
A partnership with Netflix could make sense here for the NFL to expand its popularity around the world in a way that “Drive to Survive” brought increased viewership to Formula One, a more popular international sport.
Netflix is also working on a Tour de France docuseries highlighting the biggest cycling race in a move that could boost viewership for cycling in the U.S. and worldwide.
The news of Netflix being a potential suitor for NFL live streaming and docuseries could prove negative for competitors. Apple and Amazon could find themselves in a bidding war for NFL rights and a third party entering the race could increase the price tag.
For NFL docuseries, AT&T Inc. T unit HBO currently puts out “Hard Knocks” every preseason and could see a rival enter its turf.
NFLX Price Action: Netflix shares are down 1.68% to $356.07 on Friday afternoon at publication. Shares have traded between $329.82 and $700.98 over the past 52 weeks.
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