Netflix Interested in Purchasing Pro Sports Leagues, Rights

  • Netflix was reportedly in discussions to purchase the World Surf League late last year.
  • The talks fell apart when the sides couldn't agree on a price tag.
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Netflix was nearly an owner of a pro sports league, and it’s not backing down from the thought of buying other leagues — for the right price. 

The streaming giant was in discussions to purchase the World Surf League late last year, according to The Wall Street Journal, but those discussions fell apart when the sides couldn’t agree on a price tag. 

Netflix executives have reportedly also held discussions about buying other lower-profile sports leagues to dodge the high costs of rights.

  • The company bid for U.S. Formula 1 streaming rights, but ESPN was awarded the deal.
  • Netflix was in the running for streaming rights to the ATP tennis tour for countries including France and the U.K., but dropped out of the race.
  • The company reportedly considered bidding for U.K. rights to the Women’s Tennis Association.

Netflix co-Chief Reed Hastings has said he doesn’t want to get caught in consistent bidding wars, and that’s reportedly partly why some executives are leaning toward buying leagues.

In April, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said the company would “have to see a path to growing a big revenue stream and a great profit stream with it” before it could add live sports.

Sports Streams

Netflix would join other major streamers diving into sports this year.

Apple signed a media rights deal with MLS for at least $2.5 billion and a deal with MLB for “Friday Night Baseball.” Amazon began its $11 billion NFL deal for “Thursday Night Football.”

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