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Netflix: ‘No Core Change’ in Our Live Sports Strategy

“We’re having a big impact on sports through the thing we’re most great at, which is the drama.”

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Netflix Logo
Courtesy: Netflix

Although it has long been rumored that Netflix could look to explore live sports rights, the company’s co-chief executive officer feels that its strategy has not changed. The company is on the verge of hosting The Netflix Cup at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nev., marking the first live sporting event being broadcast by the over-the-top (OTT) streaming service. It will feature four Formula 1 drivers – Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz – and four PGA Tour players – Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas – all competing in a golf tournament mere days before the first ever Las Vegas F1 Grand Prix.

“We are in the sports business, but we’re in the part of the sports business that we bring the most value to, which is the drama of sport,” Ted Sarandos said on Wednesday. “We’re having a big impact on sports through the thing we’re most great at, which is the drama.”

Netflix has released various sports documentaries and series over the last several years that have drawn wide swaths of viewership, including Formula 1: Drive to Survive; Full Swing; Break Point; Beckham; and Quarterback among others. As the company embarks on a new project, it hopes to be able to continue to popularize Formula 1: Drive to Survive and Full Swing, both of which are on the precipice of new seasons, along with its broad sports portfolio.

“We love to see how our sports series have brought increased fandom to sports leagues and competitions all over the world,” Gabe Spitzer, Netflix vice president of nonfiction sports, said in a statement. “The Netflix Cup will take that energy to the next level with global stars from two popular hits competing in our first-ever live sports event.”

With media rights for the National Basketball Association two seasons away from expiring, reports have suggested that the league could look to adopt a hybrid structure between linear television and digital platforms. Apple and Amazon are reportedly interested in negotiating with the league once they are able.

Moreover, current rightsholders in The Walt Disney Company (ABC/ESPN/ESPN+) and Warner Bros. Discovery (TNT/TBS/Max) could look to diminish the number of games they carry. While it has long been rumored that Netflix could explore a bid for media rights, Sarandos knows that the company will continue the course of action it has planned to assimilate into the business.

“I think about it as a great way of extending those great drama of sport brands that we’ve created,” Sarandos said, “but [there is] no core change in our live sports strategy or licensing live sports.”

There are similarities between the forthcoming presentation of The Netflix Cup and the Warner Bros. Discovery event, The Match, accentuated through the professional athletes and celebrities that participate across these competitions. Netflix will not be required to pay an extravagant rights fee for the event and could be a harbinger of things to come for the company should it prove successful.

“We are investing heavily in live capabilities,” Sarandos said, “so as demand grows for that and we find different ways that the live-ness can be part of the creative storytelling, we want to be able to do that at a big scale.”

The event is sanctioned by both Formula 1 and the PGA Tour and will be produced by Excel Sports Management, BZ Entertainment and Full Day Productions. Netflix will begin its live stream of all the action on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. EST/3 p.m. PST.

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‘NFL Total Access’ Comes to an End After 21 Years on NFL Network

“Today is our last show and while our team is disappointed, we are excited about what’s next for us at NFL Network.”

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‘NFL Total Access’ has been a part of the NFL Network since 2003 and today it is set for its final episode. The news of the show coming to an end came down earlier this month. Many of the current show participants took to social media to post their thoughts including hosts Mike Yam and Kimmi Chex along with analyst Chase Daniel.

“Tonight marks the last ever episode of NFL Total Access,” said Chex. “I was 7 years old when this show aired meaning that I spent my life watching. Co-hosting our flagship program this past season has been the honor of my career. I’m not going anywhere but for now, it’s goodbye TA.”

Yam said, “It’s been an absolute thrill hosting NFL Total Access. Today is our last show and while our team is disappointed, we are excited about what’s next for us at NFL Network. “Thank you” isn’t nearly enough to express the gratitude I have for the team. See you at 7est for 1 more run.”

A report from The Athletic said the show would be replaced “at least in the interim” by Insiders with Ian Rapoport, Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero.

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NBCUniversal Names Olympic Hosts for USA, CNBC and E!; Kathryn Tappen Headlines

“We are excited to have an experienced group of hosts to present the most compelling stories, news, and interviews as we take viewers from event to event throughout the Games.”

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NBC Olympics Logo and photos of Cara Banks, Laura Britt, Trenni Casey, Lindsay Czarniak, Carolyn Manno, and Kathryn Tappen

NBCUniversal announced its hosts for coverage of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 on USA Network, CNBC and E! Cara Banks, Laura Britt and Trenni Casey will all be a part of the coverage on CNBC and E! Lindsay Czarniak, Carolyn Manno and Kathryn Tappen will all take part in the USA Network coverage.

The Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Paris Olympics is Friday, July 26 on NBC, Peacock, and Telemundo.

Coverage on USA Network, CNBC, and E! is expected to include Team USA men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, and volleyball, as well as swimming, gymnastics, and track & field, and more.

“We are excited to have an experienced group of hosts to present the most compelling stories, news, and interviews as we take viewers from event to event throughout the Games,” said Rebecca Chatman, Vice President and Coordinating Producer, NBC Olympics Production in a release.

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Mike Tirico, Danica Patrick Return to Host Indy 500 for NBC Sports

Seven-time NASCAR Series champion Jimmie Johnson will join NBC’s pre-race and race coverage. When his broadcasting duties are completed, Johnson will be flying to Charlotte Motor Speedway to drive in the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600.

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Logos for Indy 500, NBC Sports and photos of Mike Tirico and Danica Patrick
Photos Courtesy: NBC Sports

With less than two weeks until the event, NBC Sports has officially announced its team of race and studio commentators for the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500. For the sixth year in a row, we can expect to see familiar faces such as host Mike Tirico and studio analyst Danica Patrick contributing to pre-race, in-race, and post-race coverage.

The race will air at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 26, on both NBC and Peacock.

Seven-time NASCAR Series champion Jimmie Johnson will join NBC’s pre-race and race coverage. When his broadcasting duties are completed, Johnson will be flying to Charlotte Motor Speedway to drive in the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600.

Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe will call the race for the sixth consecutive year. Marty Snider, Dillon Welch, Dave Burns, and Kevin Lee will serve as pit reporters. Former NASCAR driver Jeff Burton and Kim Coon will serve as roaming reporters.

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