Netflix, Amazon Prime video, DAZN, YouTube and even Disney+ have swarmed sporting content. Month after month these streaming platforms are churning out sports documentaries and shows. Of course, as a sports fan I’m not complaining too much, yet not everyone feels the same way I do.
Recently Netflix have started releasing sport documentaries, starting with F1:Drive to Survive, Break Point and then Full swing. The documentaries follow the lives of sporting professionals with exclusive behind-the-scenes content. They aren’t the first however, Amazon Prime’s ‘All or Nothing’ series is a massive success. There are multiple documentaries that follow football clubs from all over Europe, allowing us to see how players act off the pitch and some insights into the managing of the club.
As streaming platforms release endless sporting content, surely sports fans should be happy?
The main goal of these sport documentaries is to attract new fans, while showing exclusive content to existing fans. Shows such as ‘All or Nothing’ do this perfectly, they show some of the most expensive, elite footballers in the world living their everyday lives. For viewers who don’t care too much about seeing Harry Kane behind-the-scenes, the documentaries still highlight some exciting football moments, creating tension and leaving viewers guessing. Except not really. This is where sport documentaries like this trip up. I for one really enjoy the ‘All or Nothing’ series but I can’t help being slightly bored by them. Not because the content or footage is boring but because I know the outcome.
As a fan, I’m constantly up to date with football. I keep my eye on any news from any club, which is made possible due to social media’s on demand updates. So, when I sat there, watching Arsenals ‘All or Nothing’ I was intrigued to see behind-the-scenes content, but what I didn’t enjoy was the over-dramatisation of small, normal things like injuries or clean sheets. I knew that moments like this in the documentary weren’t meant for fans like me but for the more casual viewer. However, this can be off putting for many loyal fans.
They also played on ‘Where will Arsenal finish this season’ or ‘Will new manager Arteta make an impact’. However, this narrative created no sense of tension or drama as it was old news. I knew where Arsenal finished and how Arteta performed in his first season as I watched the games. The constant on-demand updates of sport news left me uninterested about last season, the goals and performance or any incredible scenes I had already seen. Personally, this is where sport documentaries fail to entice existing fans. They aren’t giving loyal and engaging fans the content they really want to see.
Now, I’m not saying these documentaries aren’t good, they rank highly on streaming platforms, and they are exactly what sport fans want. Yet, they run a risk of turning away loyal fans. Instead, organisations can meet the needs of their loyal fans by utilising social media platforms. By analysing top achieving content and listening to fan engagement, organisations and clubs can create content for loyal fans as well as creating new ones.
If you’re interested in if the Netflix shows achieved what they set out to do, follow our mini blog series;