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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Netflix Taps ‘Drive to Survive’ Producer for New Tennis Series

  • Netflix is working on a new series focused on tennis' biggest stars and tournaments.
  • It is working with the producers of the Formula One-focused 'Drive to Survive.'
Netflix-Tennis-Djokovic
Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks

Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open saga and other big moments in tennis are getting the “Drive to Survive” treatment.

The ATP Tour, ATP Media, WTA Tour, and all four Grand Slam Tournaments are working with Netflix on a documentary series, beginning with this month’s Australian Open.

The tournament has had plenty of drama off the court, as top-ranked Djokovic was deported from Australia after he refused to get vaccinated against COVID, contracted the virus, and acknowledged making false statements on documents regarding his whereabouts prior to traveling to the country.

He loses out on a shot at a record 21st Grand Slam championship and up to $2.1 million in prize money.

  • The series will be produced by Box to Box Films, who also made Netflix’s hit Formula 1 series “Drive to Survive.”
  • The racing docuseries is credited with a huge increase in F1’s popularity, especially in the U.S. The 2021 season averaged 931,000 viewers through its first 14 races – up 53% from 2020 and 40% from a comparable period in 2019.

The tennis series will document both the men’s and women’s tournaments.

Netflix’s Sports Play

Netflix has shown a growing appetite for sports after the strong reception of “Drive to Survive” and the Michael Jordan-focused docuseries “The Last Dance,” which it made available for streaming after its ultra-successful broadcast debut on ESPN.

It’s working on a series chronicling golf’s PGA Tour, also modeled after the F1 show. Last year, it released documentaries on Naomi Osaka and Colin Kaepernick.

The company has not ventured into live sports, but CEO Reed Hastings said he would consider bidding on F1 rights, should they become available.

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