When it comes to sports, Netflix has been steadfast in producing documentaries, but not live content or prerecorded games.
However, CEO Reed Hastings could make an exception for a single property: Formula 1.
“A few years ago, the rights to Formula 1 were sold. At that time, we were not among the bidders — today we would think about it,” Hastings told Der Spiegel.
Netflix docuseries “Drive to Survive” has been largely credited for F1’s 39% growth in viewership from 2019 to 2021. The show is currently filming its fourth season.
- ESPN holds U.S. broadcasting rights to F1 through 2022. F1 will race in Austin in October and add a stop in Miami in 2022. ESPN hopes to re-up on a long-term deal.
- Sky Sports struck a deal to air F1 in the U.K. from 2019 to 2024 for $1.37 billion. Canal+ holds rights in France through 2024.
- F1 has discussed a broadcasting deal with Amazon.
To stream any other live sport, Hastings says Netflix would require a level of exclusivity that leagues don’t generally offer.
“We don’t own the Bundesliga, they can make deals with whoever they want,” he explained. “But that kind of control would be a prerequisite for us to be able to offer our customers a safe deal.”
The popularity of “Drive to Survive” and Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” has spurred numerous other sports docuseries, including upcoming Netflix-produced series on NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace and the PGA Tour, and a recently released film about former F1 champ Michael Schumacher.