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Netflix bids for sports streaming rights, explores investing in small leagues - WSJ

Published 11/08/2022, 03:08 PM
Updated 11/08/2022, 03:25 PM
© Reuters.  Netflix (NFLX) bids for sports streaming rights, explores investing in small leagues - WSJ
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By Sam Boughedda

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is coming around to the idea of streaming live sports on its platform, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

However, they stated that sources told them Netflix is only interested in streaming live sports events as long as it doesn't break the bank.

According to people familiar with the discussions, Netlfix entered the bidding for the streaming rights for the ATP tennis tour for some European countries, including France and the U.K., but dropped out.

In addition, the streaming giant was also said to have discussed bidding for other sports events, such as U.K. rights to the Women's Tennis Association and cycling competitions.

As well as entering the bidding process for sports streaming rights, Netflix executives are also said to have discussed acquiring lower-profile leagues and were said to be in talks to acquire the World Surf League, but negotiations broke down due to the two organizations being unable to reach an agreement on a price.

WSJ sources told them that Netflix believes due to the size of its platform, it could turn lesser-known sports, such as surfing, into large franchises and build new tournaments and events.

The move into sports would see Netflix follow streaming rivals such as Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple TV+ (NASDAQ:AAPL), as well as Comcast's Peacock (NASDAQ:CMCSA).

Aiming to capitalize on its popular Drive to Survive documentary series, Netflix was also said to have bid for U.S. streaming rights to Formula One earlier this year but missed out to Walt Disney 's ESPN (NYSE:DIS).

However, WSJ sources said Netflix co-Chief Executive Reed Hastings has stated in board meetings that he doesn't want to be in bidding wars every few years, providing a reason for the company to buy stakes in smaller leagues.

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