People will always want to watch TV and movies, just as they always have, but Netflix isn’t so sure about this “sports” thing that some people like. People run back and forth, sometimes they carry or hit or throw a ball, there’s points involved and sometimes you want a lot but sometimes you want as few as possible… sports are a whole thing, and Netflix doesn’t want any part of it. Well, Netflix wants a part of it, specifically the part that involves supplementary sports-related things like The Last Dance, but that’s it.
This comes from Deadline, which says Netflix boss Ted Sarandos isn’t very interested in bringing live sports to his platform, which sets it slightly apart from some of its competitors that want to be a little more like regular TV. Hulu has a live TV tier that offers sports and Amazon has been making sports deals for a few years (including one with the NFL and another with the New York Yankees), but Sarandos says sports and Netflix just don’t fit together. “Our fundamental product is on-demand and ad-free,” he notes, “and sports tends to be live and packed with advertising.” He also points out that making deals like the ones Amazon has made are very expensive, especially when it comes to major organizations like the NFL, and smaller “niche sports” (as Deadline puts it) have their own distribution networks set up that don’t really require Netflix.
It’s an interesting move for a major streaming service in 2021, acknowledging that people can and do get content from more than one place. Amazon and Hulu and Peacock want to be the one platform you need (with sports and TV and movies), but even though Netflix is big enough that it probably could insist on being the one platform you need, Sarandos is out here saying, “No, it’s okay if you watch your sportsball games somewhere else.” Then again, Netflix is also getting into video games, so maybe it does want to be in charge of all of your screen time.