Women’s tennis could get the Netflix treatment after the ATP Tour was denied the chance to appear on the platform looks after the streaming service reportedly bid on the rights to broadcast the sport in the UK before pulling out. It comes as Amazon Prime Video is set to lose the rights to air the ATP and WTA Tours at the end of 2023. But fans will still be able to get an insight into their favourite players when Netflix’s Drive To Survive-style tennis documentary is released, while there is still a chance the platform could bid for the WTA rights.
The future of watching tennis in the UK currently looks uncertain with Prime Video’s coverage of both the ATP and WTA Tours coming to an end at the conclusion of the 2023 season, while the streaming service has already lost its rights to broadcast the US Open as the final Grand Slam of the season will be shown on Sky from next year.
It appears that another streaming service is hoping to follow in Prime Video’s footsteps and cash in on live sport as Netflix recently bid on the streaming rights for the ATP Tour in the UK as well as other European countries before pulling out, according to the Wall Street Journal. While the men’s tour has been denied the chance to be streamed on Netflix in the near future, the WTA Tour could still appear on the platform.
The streaming giant has also discussed bidding for the UK rights to the women’s tour as well as cycling competitions, meaning the easiest way to watch the likes of Emma Raducanu compete year-round could soon be via Netflix, though it would mean the men’s and women’s tours would be broken up with tennis fans likely needing to pay for multiple subscriptions to watch the ATP and WTA Tours as well as the four Grand Slams.
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Netflix is reportedly hoping to begin offering live sport without “breaking the bank”, potentially indicating why the streaming service does not want to go all-in on a bidding war to broadcast both tennis tours without any indication of whether live sport would prove successful. But tennis will still make its way to the platform likely next year with the release of a new documentary.
At the beginning of the year, they announced a new tennis documentary in the style of Drive To Survive, which has been hugely successful at attracting a hoard of new fans to Formula 1. The producers of the F1 documentary are also behind the new tennis offering, with the likes of Nick Kyrgios, Taylor Fritz, Maria Sakkari and Aryna Sabalenka putting themselves forward to be followed by the cameras this season.
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Given the format of the tennis season and looking at the timing of Drive To Survive’s past releases, it appears fans won’t have to wait much longer for a new insight into the sport as the most likely slot for the documentary to make its debut will come over the off season or at the beginning of the 2023 season.
“For the first time, fans will be able to share in a year in the life of some of the world’s best tennis players as they journey around the world, seeking to win on the sport’s biggest stages,” Netflix said when announcing the documentary in January. “The series will offer an unfiltered look at life inside the competitive sport of professional tennis through the perspective of the players and their teams, in the same spirit as Formula 1: Drive to Survive and the recently announced project featuring golf’s PGA Tour.”