According to an Oct. 17 announcement, Netflix is taking the plunge into live sports broadcasting with its upcoming celebrity golf tournament, The Netflix Cup. The event marks the streaming giant’s first significant foray into the lucrative live sports market.
Scheduled to take place on November 14th at 6 PM ET, The Netflix Cup will feature stars from two of Netflix’s hit sports docuseries — Formula 1: Drive to Survive and Full Swing — facing off in an eight-hole golf match. The teams will battle it out for the chance to win the inaugural Netflix Cup title at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas.
The star-studded lineup includes Formula One drivers Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris, and Carlos Sainz Jr. They will team up with PGA Tour professionals Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, and Justin Thomas.
Netflix will find live sports rights come with massive price tags and can lock streamers into multi-year contracts
According to Netflix, the celebrities will pair up in foursomes, with each team featuring one race car driver and one pro golfer. After the opening eight holes, the top two teams will advance to a final hole showdown for the Netflix Cup.
The event represents Netflix’s most significant foray into live sports yet. While rivals like Amazon and Apple have invested heavily in expensive live sports rights, Netflix has taken a cautious approach — until now.
Amazon streams Thursday Night Football and holds exclusive rights to some New York Yankees games. Apple has a major league soccer streaming package and exclusive MLB Friday night games.
Netflix’s slow embrace of live sports is likely strategic. Live sports rights come with massive price tags and can lock streamers into multi-year contracts. Netflix has likely waited to test the waters with lower-cost, high-buzz events like The Netflix Cup.
The celebrity golf tournament also builds on two of Netflix’s most popular sports docuseries. Formula 1: Drive to Survive helped turn niche auto racing into a crossover hit. Full Swing offers an inside look at professional golf. The Netflix Cup combines talent from both shows for a unique hybrid event.
If The Netflix Cup draws strong viewership, it could pave the way for Netflix to pursue more live sports in the future. The streamer has already confirmed this will be an “inaugural event,” hinting that more Netflix Cups could follow.
For now, sports fans can look forward to Netflix’s first foray into live event programming on November 14th. The Netflix Cup offers a chance to see top athletes from different sports collaborate in a new format that highlights Netflix’s sports content strengths.
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