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Streaming Giants Score Big With Sports Documentaries

Amazon's 'Kelce' and Netflix's 'Beckham' top charts, while AppleTV+ debuts 'Messi Meets America'.

Streaming companies have increased their attention on the sports media market with several of the companies landing rights to major sporting events like, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) being the home of “Thursday Night Football.”

Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 8, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (KEVIN SABITUS/GETTY IMAGES) 

Along with airing live games, streaming companies are also using sports documentaries to capture viewers and subscribers, with success in 2023.

Online streaming giants including Netflix and Apple TV have included sports documentaries about other prominent athletes including, Lionel M

The NFL is benefitting from a rise in interest in Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, with rumors linked to a relationship with musician Taylor Swift.

While there are numerous companies that could enjoy the interest, Amazon could be among those that have already done well and could benefit in the future.

Amazon is home to “Thursday Night Football,” which will air the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos game this week. While Swift has not shared if she will attend, the game could see increased viewership regardless.

While Kelce is generating plenty of headlines, his brother Jason Kelce, who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles is also a star in his own right. The Eagles center was featured in the documentary “Kelce” which was released on Amazon Prime Video on Sept. 12.

“Kelce” is now the most-watched documentary on Prime Video according to Deadline. The film generated the biggest three days ever for a U.S. documentary film and has been among the top five movies on Prime Video for weeks.

“We’re extremely proud of ‘Kelce’ and thrilled to share in its record-setting success,” Head of Prime Video Original Sports Content Matt Newman said. “’Kelce’ is the perfect example of the type of documentary we want to make at Amazon.”

While Amazon had a football hit with “Kelce,” streaming giant Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) scored a hit with a documentary about a star from the other football, known as soccer in the U.S.

Released last week, “Beckham” is a four-episode limited series that highlights the soccer career of David Beckham and also his personal relationship with Spice Girls member Victoria (Posh Spice) Beckham. The series was the most-watched English-language TV program on Netflix last week.

Data from Netflix said the series had 58.8 million views and ranked as a top 10 show in 89 countries for the week.

Another potential hit sports documentary could involve another soccer star who is also linked to Beckham. Lionel Messi surprised many by signing with Major League Soccer (MLS) team Inter Miami earlier this year, a team co-owned by Beckham.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) has exclusive rights to MLS games and has benefitted with more subscribers for the MLS Season Pass and AppleTV+ subscriptions thanks to Messi.

A new documentary called “Messi Meets America” kicked off on AppleTV+ Wednesday with the first three episodes available for subscribers. The episodes center on Messi coming to America to play in MLS and the mania that included strong viewership, merchandise sales and ticket demand.

The other three episodes of the six-part docuseries are in the works and will be released in the coming months, with a focus on Messi’s performance during MLS matches.

There are more NFL documentaries coming for viewers as well. Amazon will release “Bye Bye Barry” and Season 2 of “Coach Prime.”

“Bye Bye Barry” will debut on Nov. 21, when Detroit Lions fans may finally get the answer to why Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders decided to walk away from a career in the NFL after 10 seasons. Sanders called the film “the definitive movie” of his life and said it will answer the long-running question of why he walked away. The film’s release coincides with the week of Thanksgiving, which will see the Lions play in the annual Thanksgiving Day game and Amazon will air the first-ever Black Friday NFL game.

“Coach Prime,” which will be released in December, centers on Deion Sanders, the former NFL star turned college coach who is leading the Colorado Buffaloes football team and beating expectations in the 2023 season. Colorado has been among the most watched and bet on college football teams in 2023, which could lead to strong ratings for Amazon. 


Produced in association with Benzinga

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