Here's a great quote from the second article on a point lost by especially the sordid likes of Peacock and to some degree by ESPN+:
Interest in live sports comes as Netflix is looking for new ways to grow as domestic subscriber counts slowed in recent quarters. Instead of subscriber counts, the company said it’s putting more emphasis on revenue as a top line metric going forward, and alongside its move into the ad-supported space, it’s also planning to implement new paid models to crack down on and monetize account sharing more widely next year.
To your fine point on the matter of the growth of interest in Formula 1 in the US and Canada, and following Formula 1's three-year extension with ESPN, there is a bigger picture here as noted in this fine thread you began with that excellent article from Variety.
I copy the full article from Variety of 9 November below for those who are hitting a paywall or viewing wall when clicking the link that began this thread.
Otherwise here's even more detail on the matter of the rights of Formula 1. Notice how quickly the valuation is increasing for the rights of a niche sport in the US, which mind you is not niche to many of us of immigrant backgrounds at all but has been of interest for much of or our entire lives much like soccer.
Via streaming of course there is vastly expanded marketing via far more opportunities to capture and court a niche audience.
The road-map is laid there for the CFL and any other niche sports, such as did Serie A to migrate to Paramount+ and CBS from their similar poor treatment by ESPN, via Netflix and I figure others that are not Disney by the time negotiations for the US rights to Formula 1 roll around again in less than three years.
As Yogi Berra said, when you get to a fork in the road, take it.
FOR NETFLIX, SPORTS RIGHTS ISN’T A MATTER OF IF, BUT WHEN
With the holiday season fast approaching, you can bet Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos will start appearing on the gift lists of the sporting world’s top executives.
The Netflix co-CEOs may have once been of no consequence to leagues in the U.S. and abroad, but that has apparently changed given the Wall Street Journal report Tuesday that the streaming leader has been bidding for international tennis and cycling rights packages, and even attempted to purchase the World Surf League itself.
This comes on the heels of a June report revealing Netflix explored U.S. rights to Formula One, which ended up at Disney albeit with a huge price hike.
The entry of Netflix into sports rights bidding is like manna from heaven to the leagues, which are already seeing the existence of deep-pocketed streaming giants including Amazon and Apple bidding up the price of their programming (perhaps to unsustainable levels). These tech giants have already been securing the rights to pro baseball, football and soccer here in the U.S. at a rapid clip over the past 12 months.
The report suggest the increasingly cost-conscious Netflix is wary of being subjected to the ever-escalating rights fees of sports rights. But surely the streamer understands that devoting some of the $17 billion it's projected to spend this year on content would best be reserved for the reliable audience draw top leagues represent.
Sarandos and Hastings have to be thinking, what happens if it’s the sports programming Netflix’s rivals moved faster to grab that makes all the difference in terms of getting Amazon and Apple to the next level in streaming? If that comes to pass and they neglect even to try to bid, that’s egg just waiting for their faces.
Netflix was already slow to adopt advertising and password-sharing protection. Being seen as late to sports would cement what would bother the co-CEOs most: Their company’s reputation as the disruptor par excellence would give way to that of a lazy incumbent.
While it’s true that pro leagues are hesitant to fork over too much of their rights packages because they’ve already trained audiences to find sports easily on linear channels and streaming en masse is still a nascent technology vulnerable to technical hiccups, Netflix is not some Johnny-come-lately to the streaming wars. Its user experience is second to none, which should put the leagues at ease.
Moreover, the streamer has demonstrated time and again that the sheer scale of its subscriber base ensures that the sizable audiences marketers want will turn out. Just look at the way broadcast and cable castoffs, from Lifetime’s “You” to NBC’s “Manifest,” get revitalized by Netflix and open these shows to new audiences they weren’t getting on linear (which also explains the upcoming shift of “Girls5eva” from Peacock to Netflix). Why should that second wind be any different for sports programming?
The transition to live games is also a natural for Netflix because it’s an organic outgrowth of its wealth of sports-related docuseries (“Untold,” “Formula One: Drive to Survive,” “The Redeem Team”). This kind of content is not unlike what ESPN would call “shoulder programming,” cheap fare they put on the air at times between telecasts because a schedule chockablock with licensed games would just be too damned expensive. Netflix would simply be moving backward, starting with the shoulder shows before graduating to the good stuff.
Now that advertising is part of the picture at Netflix, live sports is simply the next logical step in that streaming platform’s evolution. The reason game telecasts are as obscenely expensive as they are is because commercial time commands top dollar, and that trend will only continue as the rest of linear TV programming continues its slow fade. It would be ridiculous if Netflix doesn’t get into the rights game.
But what will be interesting to see is what kind of experience the subscribers on Netflix’s ad-free tier will have if they were watching a sport where commercial interruptions are baked into the traditional telecast format. You can’t just let the cameras keep rolling between innings if there’s no action on the field. Perhaps the broadcast booth will be able to clock overtime while they continue to discuss what just transpired on the playing field.
Prediction: Netflix will land a small rights deal or two internationally in 2023. Nothing hugely important, just enough to give the company a taste of what it’s like to be in the sports business and prove to the leagues they are in to win it.
F1 ratings in Canada are sky rocketing. On TSN. Not "we're losing viewers to streaming" "what about CTV?" Etc. And races are at odd times like Sundays at 8am.
In Canada, F1 races this season are averaging 731,000 viewers across TSN and RDS, according to ratings data provided by those networks, up a whopping 45 per cent since 2020. And new, young fans such as Cesta are helping to power that growth: viewership on TSN and RDS in the 18-to-24 demographic has tripled since 2020.
Naw! F1 needs a Canadian driver for TSN ratings to improve. I won't get up early in the morning to watch one or two drivers(Hamilton, VerStappen) that dominate over other drivers and when you know who is going to win.