By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
Netflix, which this year finally dipped its toes in live streaming, could now be planning to do live sports, according to a Wall Street Journal article.
The newspaper reports that the company is ‘in talks’ to live stream a celebrity golf match that would feature professional golfers from Netflix’s Full Swing documentary and drivers from its Formula 1 racing series, Drive to Survive. The event, if it takes place, would be this fall.
Netflix in March broadcast its first live program ever, a Chris Rock stand-up comedy special, and it live streamed a Love Is Blind reunion special in April. However, the latter was plagued by technical difficulties that prevented many subscribers from watching it live.
“To everyone who stayed up late, woke up early, gave up their Sunday afternoon… we are incredibly sorry that the Love is Blind Live Reunion did not turn out as we had planned. We’re filming it now and we’ll have it on Netflix as soon as humanly possible. Again, thank you and sorry,” the streamer said in a statement.
But if the WSJ story is correct, it would appear that the Love Is Blind flub did not discourage Netflix executives from continue to pursue live programming. The golf match would be a vehicle for the company to continue to develop its live streaming capabilities during a relatively low-profile event.
There’s no indication that a successful stream would lead to more live sports on Netflix, or that the company would begin bidding for TV rights from professional and college sports. However, Netflix is facing increasing competition in the streaming category from rivals that do have sports such as Peacock, Paramount+, ESPN+ and Max. Exclusive live sports would be another way for the company to distinguish itself in the market.
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— Phillip Swann