We are lucky that we are living in an age where we have a constant stream of entertainment available to us on demand. It is hard to believe that we once had to wait patiently by our 100-pound televisions to watch our favourite shows and if you left the room, you could not pause nor rewind if you blinked at the wrong moment.
In fact, nowadays you don’t even need a tv, any source of entertainment can be accessed through a laptop or a mobile device at any time. A booming industry that is experiencing a major increase in popularity is subscription-based streaming services. In the U.K., the streaming sector made £2.7 billion in profits in 2021 which is a 28% revenue increase in 2020.
There are many streaming services available to people living in the UK, the three biggest are:
- Amazon Prime
The average person will typically only pay the subscription fee to one of these streaming services, so competition between these companies is at an all-time high.
So how do they differentiate?
Well, the obvious way of getting the upper hand is by undercutting your rivals and lowering your subscription fees. This can only work for so long and all the promotions that are run are almost identical across the board. The other alternative which is becoming more and more common is to produce high-quality original content. We have witnessed this with straight-to-streaming movies and the true crime docuseries trends. Lately, the most successful exclusives that are being produced are coming in the form of the real-life sports docuseries.
This has essentially been done by sending a camera crew to document the behind-the-scenes activity of a certain sport or an individual team. This peak behind the curtain of an elite sport has piqued the interest of an audience of fans and even just casual viewers. The success of Netflix’s ‘The Last Dance’ has shown the world that there is a huge audience for sports content.
Each one of the big streaming services have decided to invest heavily in sports.
So how do they compare to one another?
Amazon Prime – All or Nothing
Although the Amazon all-or-nothing series is widely associated with football, it originally debuted in 2016 by following the NFL team the Arizona Cardinals. They have also covered Rugby Union and Ice hockey, but it was in 2018 that people from the UK really started to take notice.
‘All or Nothing: Manchester City’ made its debut and captivated a nation by bringing the audience behind the scenes of Pep Guardiola’s title-winning side. Both Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus were next in line and then most recently the Arsenal series was released in 2022.
The North London side received a payment of £10 million from Amazon in order to be granted access to film the series. It was arguably their most successful series and drew in a lot of new viewers. They are reportedly planning on doing a series on Chelsea football club in the 2023/24 season.
The success of this series should come at no surprise, football is one of the most influential sports in the world attracting billions of eyes every year. The success of the sport has helped boost the success of the online gambling industry, where sports-based slots are now available to play at the best free bets casinos. A prime example is ‘Spin and Score’ which is a popular choice at Virgin Games. It goes to show much the sport attracts an audience in different sectors.
Disney+ – Welcome to Wrexham
‘Welcome to Wrexham’ is an 18-episode series that debuted on Disney plus on the 24th of August. It follows the extraordinary real-life story of well-renowned actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney as they try to turn a Welsh football team who plays in the fifth tier of English football into a success.
As an outsider looking at this whole plan could be deemed as a considerable risk. Two Americans who know nothing about the sport trying to commercialise it for their own gain, or just two disinterested rich guys looking for an investment to toy around with because they’re bored.
Worst of all, there is a production crew recording every second of this potential disaster so people can laugh at you in 4k but luckily, that was far from the case.
‘Welcome to Wrexham’ is one of the best pieces of streaming content that has emerged in the past year, the series perfectly encapsulates the football club, focusing just as much on the community aspect as the sport itself.
The series was an undoubted success receiving a 97% audience score and has been given the go-ahead for season 2.
Netflix – Drive to Survive
One of the most expensive sports in the world, Formula One is run by billionaires who pay millionaires to drive rocket ships around a track. This is a pretty cut-and-dry way of looking at the sport and it’s how a lot of people viewed it, until ‘Drive to Survive’ premiered in 2019.
In contrast to the previous two shows, this one did not focus on one club but the entire sport. Camera crews were granted access to team meetings, paddocks and even locker rooms. Nothing was off limits; the audience was given a direct line of sight into the sport and the people at the core of it.
Individuals who would never think of watching the sport became completely invested in a season which had already run its course, sympathising for and cheering the drivers on.
Since 2019 the show has produced a total of four seasons, with the latest edition bringing in an average global viewership of 4.14 million people in its opening weekend. It is no surprise that the series has been renewed for another two seasons.
The emergence of these captivating sports docuseries has added another way these streaming giants can look to out-compete with each other. Each one of these shows have garnered renowned success.
But the real winner here is the viewer, as long as these corporate giants are competing with each other, the more pressure on them to keep us, the audience, happy.