Netflix Backs Out of Bidding for Live English Premier League Games

What: With the tender for the 2019-2022 Premier League rights to go out this month, Netflix was thought to be amongst one of the challengers to traditional broadcasters. Instead it has opted out the bidding.
Why it matters: Not only is this one less challenger for traditional broadcasters to worry about, but it is also one less challenger for Amazon and Facebook to worry about.

A New Frontier?

This season of the National Football League has not only seen Thursday night football games broadcast on the NFL Network, but also on Amazon. The games, available to Prime membership customers, offer a glimpse into the next steps major streaming companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook, are attempting to take as they look to expand their empires. Now they are looking to make a move on English football. Several months ago it was reported that among others, the aforementioned three would be in the bidding process for the 2019-2022 Premier League rights when they came out. However, with the rights set to be released sometime this month, Netflix has decided not to pursue the chance to broadcast English's topflight football. Why? Simply put: it's not Netflix's style.

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If Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

Netflix, one the most notable streaming services, has decided to stick to what it does best and this does not include live sports. It will instead focus its sports operation on original programming rather then live events. Early this past October, the streaming giant secured a deal with Serie A giants and reigning champions Juventus to produce a documentary on the club. The collaboration between Netflix and Juventus will provide viewers around the world with a behind the scenes look of the club during training sessions, preseasons, games and personal stories of the players. Commenting on the partnership with Juventus Erik Barmack, vice president of international original series at Netflix, stated: “Netflix is the home of passionate storytelling, and there are no more passionate fans than those of the Bianconeri."

"We are excited to have unique, exclusive access to one of the most important squads in the world"

A Sure Thing

Netflix's deal with Juventus and subsequent withdrawal from the Premier League bidding rights shouldn't be looked as weakness on Netflix part. Rather, Netflix could be praised for taking on an old directive and shedding new light upon it. Sport documentaries like the one Juventus will have with Netlifx are wildly popular as evidenced by the NFL's successful look into life in the NFL with Hard Knocks. Additionally, Fox Sports produced a similar documentary mini-series back in 2012 with English football club, Liverpool FC. The series title 'Being: Liverpool' was generally received well by fans and critics alike. Netflix is looking to recreate that same exposure with Juventus using the same directives that has grown its business in the first place: storytelling. Netflix is the number one streaming service because of its original programming and adding live sports broadcasting, it feels, seems unnecessary and a deviation to its style of television.

"We want to provide the best video storytelling across all genres, but it won't encompass live sports broadcasting"

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Jackie Adedokun @adejax7

Jackie is from Detroit, Michigan but grew up in Southfield a town just outside of Detroit. She returned to Detroit to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Wayne State University in 2014 and a Juris Doctor from Detroit Mercy School of Law this past May. She is currently attending Columbia University's Sports Management Program and also works within the media division of Columbia's Athletic Department.

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