Netflix Cup celebrity golf tournament to feature PGA Tour pros and F1 stars
Netflix has officially unveiled plans to organise its first live sports event, the Netflix Cup, which will feature a celebrity golf tournament involving PGA Tour professionals and Formula One drivers from the popular docuseries Full Swing and Drive to Survive.
The Netflix Cup is scheduled to take place at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas on November 14, coinciding with the Las Vegas Grand Prix. The competition will adopt a matchplay format, with four teams – each consisting of a golfer and a Formula One driver – competing in eight-hole semi-finals. The winners of these semi-finals will advance to the championship round.
The confirmed lineup for the event includes notable Formula One drivers such as Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, along with PGA Tour professionals Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas.
Gabe Spitzer, Vice President of Nonfiction Sports at Netflix, expressed the company’s enthusiasm for this venture.
“We love to see how our sports series have brought increased fandom to sports leagues and competitions all over the world,” Spitzer said.
“The Netflix Cup will take that energy to the next level with global stars from two popular hits competing in our first-ever live sports event.”
Drive to Survive, now in its sixth season, has played a pivotal role in diversifying and expanding Formula One’s audience, particularly in the United States. This success has inspired similar formats for other sports, including the PGA Tour, tennis, cycling and the NFL.
Emily Prazer, Chief Commercial Officer of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, acknowledged the impact of Drive to Survive on Formula One’s growth in the US and how it led to the addition of a third American race.
“It’s only fitting that we kick off our inaugural race weekend with a fun event that can be streamed by F1 and PGA Tour fans around the globe,” Prazer said.
Norb Gambuzza, PGA Tour senior vice president, media and gaming, added, “The PGA Tour is proud to participate in this significant milestone for Netflix and we look forward to showcasing our sport’s professional athletes to a live global audience.
“New and diverse audiences have come to know more about both our sports and their athletes through Full Swing and Drive to Survive, and we are excited to team up with Netflix, Formula One and the Las Vegas Grand Prix on this exciting concept.”
Despite persistent industry speculation, Netflix has publicly denied any interest in acquiring live sports rights, citing their high cost, fragmentation and short lifespan as deterrents. Instead, the streaming giant has chosen to invest in cost-effective original content that can be distributed worldwide and kept in its library indefinitely.
While the infrastructure for live events differs significantly from on-demand video streaming, the Netflix Cup aligns with the company’s strategy, as it owns the event, can distribute it globally and promotes its other series. Netflix has also taken steps to enhance its capacity to support live content.
The Netflix Cup is unlikely to quell rumours that the streaming service may eventually venture into live sports, especially as it focuses more on its ad-supported pricing tiers. Many in the industry may view this event as an experimental step toward a larger sports-related endeavour.