Netflix could be planning to livestream a sporting event, which would feature professional golfers and Formula 1 drivers participating in a celebrity golf tournament. The potential move would mark the streamer’s first venture into live sports.
The report comes from the Wall Street Journal, which wrote that the event would likely premiere in the fall and take place in Las Vegas, according to people familiar with the situation. Apparently, discussions about the tournament are still preliminary.
Netflix declined to comment to TechCrunch.
The golf tournament would feature celebrities from two Netflix docuseries, “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” and “Full Swing.” The F1 series has done particularly well for the streamer and was said to help revive the sport’s popularity among fans. The fifth season dropped on February 24, 2023, and saw nearly 570,000 viewers in the first seven days— a 40% increase compared to Season 4.
Around this time last year, rumors circulated about Netflix competing with ESPN and NBCUniversal for Formula 1 streaming rights in the U.S. However, in the end, ESPN renewed the racing rights and is set to broadcast the games through the 2025 season.
Netflix also reportedly considered bidding for media rights to tennis and cycling events.
The streaming giant has been hesitant about live sports, previously telling investors that it would only consider livestreaming sporting events if the company thought it would make them a lot of money.
“I’m not saying we never would do sports, but we would have to see a path to growing a big revenue stream and a big profit stream with it,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said during an earnings call in 2022.
The celebrity golf tournament would be a one-time special event, giving Netflix a way to test the format and see if investing in live sports is worth it or not. Sports packages are notoriously expensive, costing media companies billions of dollars.
This would also allow Netflix to continue experimenting with livestreaming technology after it failed to give “Love is Blind” fans a smooth viewing experience during its first live reunion special. Due to technical issues, the “Love is Blind” Season 4 reunion was delayed for 75 minutes.
That being said, Netflix only just recently began its foray into live events, with its first one being the Chris Rock comedy special, which seemed to have no problems. In 2024, the company will live broadcast the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards.