Netflix plans celebrity golf tournament as first live sports event

Netflix is reportedly planning a celebrity golf tournament as its first step into live sports, according to The Wall Street Journal. The event is expected to feature professional golfers from Netflix's docuseries "Full Swing" and players from its Formula 1 racing series "Drive to Survive." This move comes after the streaming giant faced technical difficulties during a live reunion special for its reality show "Love is Blind." The company's decision to plan its own event rather than partnering with a sports organization suggests that it is still refining its live capabilities before diving deeper into sports rights.

Netflix has been dabbling in live events, having streamed its first live stand-up comedy special in March, which went off without a hitch, and inking a deal to livestream the SAG Awards starting in 2024. However, the technical difficulties with the live reunion special for "Love is Blind" could give sports-rights holders pause about signing deals with Netflix. The company has yet to ink any live-sports pacts, finding success instead with docuseries around sports like Formula 1, professional golf, and professional tennis. However, Netflix has bid on the US media rights for Formula 1 in 2022 before they landed back at ESPN, which shows the streamer's appetite to do more with live sports.

Livestreaming its own golf event would allow Netflix to work out the kinks in a low-pressure environment and showcase to rights holders — and advertisers — that it can handle live sports and the millions of viewers they draw. Although this is an exciting move for Netflix, the company will need to prove that it is capable of delivering high-quality live content to avoid any future technical difficulties.


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