- Netflix is stepping into live sports with the “Netflix Cup,” featuring PGA Tour pros and Formula 1 drivers.
- The event is set for November 14th at the Wynn Golf Club, days before the inaugural Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
- The Netflix Cup leverages the popularity of two of its hit docuseries, “Drive to Survive” and “Full Swing,” both of which have boosted fandom in their respective sports.
Greetings, golf enthusiasts and speed demons alike, I’m here to talk to you about something that’s never been done before—a collision of two worlds, PGA and Formula 1, in a singular event called “The Netflix Cup.”
Yes, the streaming behemoth known for disrupting television is now making a foray into live sports. Scheduled for November 14, the event pairs PGA stars Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, and Justin Thomas with Formula 1 drivers Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris, and Carlos Sainz. They’ll compete on the emerald fairways of the Wynn Golf Club, right before the onset of the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The Netflix Strategy: Changing the Game?
Netflix has been a name often whispered in conversations surrounding live sports rights but has never actually thrown its hat in the ring. According to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, the company believes that they can provide a strong offering without getting entangled in the complexities of live sports licensing. Could the Netflix Cup be the starting point of a larger strategy?
Hollywood Meets Golf and Racing
The Netflix Cup is not merely a stand-alone spectacle; it serves as an extension of Netflix’s documentary series—PGA’s “Full Swing” and F1’s “Drive to Survive.” These shows have bolstered the sports’ popularity, particularly in the U.S., where F1 has always struggled to gain a foothold.
Beyond Just a Tournament
The Netflix Cup goes beyond just being a live sports event; it’s a testbed for multi-sport crossovers. The model has been somewhat proven by Warner Bros. Discovery’s “The Match” celebrity golf events. But Netflix ups the ante by merging two sports that command large, yet very different, audiences. A golf club in one hand and a steering wheel in the other—this is the kind of sports fusion that can only happen in Vegas.
Global Stars, Global Appeal
Vice President of Nonfiction Sports at Netflix, Gabe Spitzer, noted that their docuseries have increased fandom across various sports leagues. And the Netflix Cup seems to be the next step. Emily Prazer, Chief Commercial Officer at Las Vegas Grand Prix, Inc., says that the continued success of “Drive to Survive” has contributed significantly to the growth of F1 in the U.S. and that the Netflix Cup serves as the perfect curtain-raiser to their inaugural race weekend.
The Venue: Wynn Golf Club
Steve Weitman, President of Wynn Las Vegas, couldn’t be more thrilled to host this unique matchup, adding it to the storied history of the only 18-hole, championship golf course on the Las Vegas Strip.
In the end, whether this is Netflix’s initial step toward acquiring live sports rights or just an experiment, it’s a win-win for fans of both golf and racing. The event promises not just a competition but a celebration of talent, skill, and most of all, a united spirit of sportsmanship. What happens when irons meet wheels? We’ll find out on November 14. Until then, let the speculation and the excitement rev up.