Streamers have yet to figure out how to effectively tap into the massive sports audience. While some are bidding up the prices for the rights to live sports, like Apple for MLS and Amazon’s Prime Video for “Thursday Night Football,” to say nothing of the impending NBA rights negotiations, Netflix appears to be happy to focus on sports-adjacent content at the moment.
“We really think that we can have a really strong offering for sports fans on Netflix without having to be part of the difficulty of the economic model of live sports licensing,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said on the company’s most recent earnings call.
By avoiding a massive bet on rights to a single league that would tie it to the cycles of sports seasons, Netflix can bring a variety of sports content to its users all year. The streamer already has a track record of success with this type of content. ESPN-Netflix coproduction “The Last Dance” in 2020 kicked off a surge in the number of sports documentaries, and “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” just released its fifth season. The racing show has become a reliable staple for Netflix, consistently ranking among the most in-demand documentaries of any type on the platform.
This year, “Quarterback” has been the fourth most in-demand new Netflix original in the U.S. The show had 19.8 times the average series demand in its first 30 days, placing it behind only three other new releases from Netflix this year including major hits like “The Night Agent” and “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.”
An added benefit for Netflix is the renewed spike in demand for the show as the football season gets underway, putting its stars once again in the spotlight. It’s a way the streamer can profit indirectly from a sports season without having to spend big for the rights.
Netflix isn’t the only one benefiting from the success of “Quarterback.” The three athletes featured in the show have all seen a spike in their talent demand since the show premiered and have maintained a higher level of audience attention more than a month since the premiere date.
Of the three, Kirk Cousins and Marcus Mariota saw the biggest lift in their demand. Patrick Mahomes already had a significant level of demand before the show and consistently ranked among the most in-demand athletes in the U.S. Even so, it still looks like starring in the show raised his profile with American audiences.
A sentiment analysis for these athletes helps give context to the increase in demand for them. In the 30 days following the show premiere, all three quarterbacks saw an increase in the share of positive conversation about them compared to the prior 30 days. An increase in overall attention combined with more positive sentiment makes agreeing to be featured in this show seem like a no-brainer. This should help Peyton Manning, the show’s executive producer, convince a new cohort of athletes to sign up for Season 2, now that the show has been renewed by Netflix.
Christofer Hamilton is an industry insights manager at Parrot Analytics, a WrapPRO partner. For more from Parrot Analytics, visit the Data and Analysis Hub.
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