Netflix Bids on Live Sports
By: James Flippin · November 10, 2022 · Reading Time: 3 minutes
Streamers & Sports
Netflix (NFLX) is the latest streaming giant to turn to professional sports in an attempt to lure in more viewers.
Disney (DIS) owns a majority stake in Hulu, which offers a live sports package. Apple TV (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) are currently in a bidding war for NFL Sunday Ticket, a subscription to every Sunday football game. Amazon is already paying a whopping $1.2 billion annually for the rights to Thursday Night Football.
Now, Netflix wants in on the sports action.
Lots of Bidding
Netflix’s management has noted that it’s interested in offering live sports to its viewers, but it doesn’t want to break the bank doing so. This strategy makes sense, as the service behind Stranger Things already shells out $17 billion on new content each year.
So, instead of the NFL, NBA, or MLB, Netflix is going after lower-profile leagues. The company has explored exclusive streaming rights for sports leagues such as the World Surf League, Formula One, ATP tennis tours, and the UK Women’s Tennis Association.
Netflix wants a league that’s popular enough, but not too pricey. If it were buying a car, it would be shopping around for a nice mid-sized sedan with a few years on it.
Pivoting to Profits
Adding live sports is all part of Netflix’s plan to make more revenue per user. As part of this strategy, Netflix has already introduced an ad-supported tier, while also cracking down on password sharing.
Luckily for Netflix, experts estimate that there are 160 million live sports viewers this year in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, Netflix has only 73.4 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada currently.
If the streamer can carve out just a small chunk of this sports viewer audience, it could easily draw in several million more viewers. It’s just a matter of finding the right sport’s league at the right price. So, it might not be long before you’re being recommended Major League Pickleball, exclusively on Netflix.
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