Netflix Upping Sports Documentary Productions

Netflix may not be interested in pursuing live-sports streaming, but the SVOD behemoth isn’t turning its back on sports.

The streamer Jan. 12 announced two new projects featuring exclusive, behind-the-scenes stories with some of the most-popular athletes, teams, leagues and federations around the globe. As part of its sports slate, Netflix has greenlighted two new docuseries: an as yet untitled series at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, featuring exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage of all 32 teams from the tournament; and “Six Nations,” an inside look at the international rugby tournament. 

Netflix also announced a Feb. 24 premiere for season five of popular series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive,” along with a first look at the new season. As previously announced, tennis series “Break Point” debuts Jan. 13, followed by golf series “Full Swing” on Feb. 15.  And later in 2023, Netflix will premiere a behind-the-scenes docuseries from the 2022 Tour de France, as well as “Heart of Invictus,” following competitors in The Invictus  Games. 

“By going behind-the-scenes of the world’s biggest sporting events with unprecedented access, we have a unique opportunity to share the triumphs, tribulations and drama of these iconic moments with our hundreds of millions of global members,” Brandon Riegg, VP of unscripted and documentary series, said in a statement.

Since breaking its sports doc teeth with “Formula 1: Drive to Survive,” Netflix has doubled down chronicling some of the world’s biggest sporting leagues. 

“Break Point” gets up close and personal with top tennis players through an entire year traveling across the globe for all four Grand Slams and the ATP and WTA tours. From physical injuries and emotional heartbreak, to triumphant victories, to personal moments off the court, viewers will get a behind the scenes look at the pressure-tested lives of these pro tennis players.

“Full Swing” is an eight-episode documentary series that follows a diverse group of professional golfers on and off the course, across a relentless season of competition. The golfers endure a high-stakes schedule week in and week out on the PGA Tour, including, for the first time ever, exclusive behind-the-scenes access to all four of golf’s major championships. Full Swing is executive produced by Chad Mumm and Mark Olsen (Vox Media Studios), Paul Martin, James Gay-Rees and Warren Smith (Box to Box Films).

“Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 5″ will once again take fans behind the scenes, to witness first-hand how the drivers and teams prepare to battle it out for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The series will offer never-before-seen footage and interviews from the sport’s biggest names. Formula 1: Drive to Survive is executive-produced by Academy-Award winner James Gay-Rees (Amy, Senna) and Paul Martin (Diego Maradona) for Box to Box Films.

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“Heart of Invictus” follows a group of extraordinary competitors from around the globe — all service members who have suffered life-changing injuries or illnesses — on their road to the Invictus Games, revealing powerful stories of resilience and hope. From Archewell Productions in partnership with The Invictus Games Foundation, along with the Oscar-winning team of director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara (The White Helmets, Virunga, Evelyn). 

The untitled Tour de France docuseries showcases the iconic French bike racing stage race, a source of national pride in France. It will chart the ups and downs of eight of the teams, featuring their cyclists over the grueling three-week tour. The series is produced by QuadBox, a Paris-based joint venture between Box to Box Films and Quad. Executive producers are James Gay Rees, Paul Martin, Yann Le Bourbouach and Amelia Hann. 

“Six Nations” aims to get fans closer to the Guinness Six Nations Championship. The series will take viewers inside the exhilarating world of the oldest and greatest annual international rugby tournament, giving fans an insight into pulsating behind the scenes moments, as the best teams in Europe battle it out in some of the biggest matches in the rugby calendar to take home the prestigious trophy. 

The untitled FIFA World Cup Series (Summer 2023) follows players throughout qualification for last year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Produced by Fulwell 73, the series will be the definitive account of one of the greatest sporting spectacles of all time. With privileged, behind-the-scenes access and exclusive footage in and around all the 32 teams, the series will show viewers the FIFA World Cup as never seen before. The series will stream globally on Netflix in 2023.

Other Netflix sports programming includes “The Redeem Team”; “Last Chance U”; “The Last Dance”; “Neymar: The Perfect Chaos”; “Untold”; and “Cheer.” In addition to exclusive projects with sports leagues, Netflix in 2023 will also launch the film Bill Russell: Legend; an untitled David Beckham series; and a new season of docuseries “Untold.”

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