Lights, Camera, Action! — Netflix's Play in Sports Content

SponsorPulse Staff
  • August 24, 2023
  • SponsorPulse Staff
Image courtesy of Glenn Carstens Peters via Unsplash
When you think of Netflix, you might think of cozy movie nights with friends, fun family times on Sundays, or those romantic dates with your partner — all enjoyed with some delicious popcorn (of course). 

You've probably binge-watched countless Netflix series, but did you know this streaming giant is becoming a heavyweight sports contender?

Buckle up as we dive into the exciting world of Netflix's sports content, its star-studded collaborations, and what brands could follow.

More Than Just Movie Nights

As the battle for eyeballs intensifies, streaming service providers continue to explore ways to attract and connect on a deeper level with a loyal audience. 

As a result, Netflix took a bet in 2019 and hasn’t looked back since then — the studio stepped into the world of sports and has delivered a thrilling lineup of sports-focused TV shows to keep its audience glued to their screens.

Netflix’s first step into sports was delivering the exhilarating drama behind the race tracks of Formula 1 in ‘Drive to Survive’. With five consecutive seasons under their belts, the results are crystal clear. According to data from SponsorPulse, from 2019 to present, engagement with Formula 1 in the US has increased +32%, while the % of fans engaging weekly or more has increased +22%. Taking that a step further, we can identify that among US Netflix users, their engagement with Formula 1 is up +26%, and the % of fans engaging weekly or more is +31%. 

Netflix has been doubling down its efforts on high-quality, long-form sports content. In the first two months of 2023, Netflix increased the profile of the PGA Tour, highlighting the players and greens of golf in 'Full Swing,' and the ATP and WTA through the intense rallies of tennis in 'Breakpoint,' 

While these shows aren’t new, Netflix continues to leverage sports-related content for growth and engagement. 

Netflix’s latest touchdown is 'Quarterback,' a documentary series that takes viewers behind the scenes of three NFL quarterbacks, including Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes. 

But wait, there’s a plot twist!

Netflix isn't stopping at documentaries — they're teeing up for a live celebrity golf tournament this fall, bringing viewers front-row access to the action.

Brands: The Real MVPs

But you might wonder, "What's in it for brands?" A whole lot, it turns out!

Being featured in these TV shows isn't just a ‘cameo’ – it's a golden opportunity to reach and connect with a wider global audience on a more personable level.

The exposure to Netflix’s audience of over 238 million paid memberships in over 190 countries is priceless. 

And the impact? An absolute ‘hole-in-one.’

For example, Drive to Survive has successfully increased the viewership of F1 races, driven higher ticket sales, attracted younger viewers, and brought in more sponsors from the US.

Sports properties that team up with Netflix to showcase some behind-the-scenes content experience a surge in awareness and engagement.

The bonus? These brands gain authentic credibility and a unique opportunity to connect with their fans personally.

Who's Next in Line?

So who's next to snatch the spotlight and revel in the perks of Netflix's sports content? 

According to SponsorPulse's data — which tracks user preferences on top properties among Netflix, Prime, and Apple users —  the US sports properties with the highest engagement rates are the NFL at 61%, the MLB at 53%, and the NBA at 52%.

Hence, the MLB or the NBA make great contenders to be the next OTT headliners.

Nevertheless, the College Football National Championship and the Summer and Winter Olympic Games only lag with 51% engagement — revealing that opportunities lie beyond the playing field of the top American leagues.

A Celebrity Focused Approach?

Some of the numbers behind SponsorPulse's latest Celebrity and Influencer Data may reveal ‘who’s next’ and who could benefit the most based on the already existing popularity of their players. 

The popularity and awareness numbers of LeBron James (100% awareness), Steph Curry (86%), and Kevin Durant (74%) strengthen the case for the NBA for an epic show – especially while King James is still around.

While not many soccer stars make the top of the list, our data suggests Cristiano Ronaldo (64% awareness) and Lionel Messi (54%) are top of mind for people worldwide. Given that both are still playing, it may be an excellent opportunity to tap into a TV show behind these two superstars. We hope someone is capturing every moment as Messi has made an immediate mark on Inter Miami CF and the MLS. 

Join the Winning Team

Netflix's foray into sports content is nothing short of a home run, and brands that collaborate in these captivating shows reap remarkable rewards. 

If you’re ready to explore top sponsorship opportunities, SponsorPulse’s intelligence tool is your secret weapon to discover, measure, and capitalize on the value of thousands of sponsorship properties.

Why wait on the sidelines when you could be center stage? Create a free SponsorPulse account today and enter the spotlight – your brand's moment of fame might just be a click away!