Netflix reportedly interested in launching live golf event

Netflix and growth in developing marketsNetflix may be preparing to enter the world of live sports streaming with a plan to launch a new golf tournament in Las Vegas, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

According to the paper, the streamer is in talks to launch the tournament, which would include both professional golfers and Formula 1 drivers, featuring celebrities who have appeared in Netflix drama doc Full Swing and documentary Drive to Survive respectively.

If confirmed, the move would represent a very tentative dipping of Netflix’s toes in the live sports arena, without any big upfront commitment to the acquisition of high-priced premium sports rights.

According to the report, the plan would be to test a live event on Netflix’s recently-launched advertising-supported tier.

Netflix has recently experimented with live events in the shape of a Chris Rock stand-up comedy special and, less successfully, a reunion special of its Love is Blind dating show, which was accompanied by technical problems with the live stream.

Netflix co-chief executive Ted Sarandos has previously rejected suggestions that Netflix should launch into live sports. At the end of last year, for example, he used the UBS Global TMT Conference in New York to push back against rumours that the streamer might enter the battle for premium sports rights. He said the platform is not “anti-sport” it is just “pro-profit”.

Explaining why, Sarandos said the company has not seen a profit path in “renting big sports”. Instead, he predicted that the platform could get twice as big without sports.

Sarandos has however expressed interest in expanding Netflix’s advertising drive. He used the same conference to say that  was “likely” that Netflix would expand the offering to include “multiple ad tiers over time” without giving further details.

Sarandos said there was room to evolve how advertising works on streaming services to differentiate streaming with ads from linear broadcast TV.

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