Welcome To The Documentary Era Of Football
You may have seen recent news that Man City has partnered with Amazon to create a documentary. It will follow the team through this season (what a season!).
Ferran Soriano, Man City CEO said: “We are delighted to begin this strategic relationship with Amazon, one of the world’s leading companies.”
This news swiftly followed the previous announcement that Netflix and Juventus would be teaming up to also produce a documentary of the Bianconeri’s season.
Federico Palomba, Co-Chief Revenue Officer at Juventus said: “It’s a source of pride that Juventus is the first football club to be the subject of a Netflix Original Documentary,”
I’ve picked out both these quotes as they are quite illuminating.
Both clubs are quite proud that they’ve been the first football teams to be selected by giants like Amazon and Netflix for these projects. Also, both see these opportunities as just the start.
What are we to make of these moves?
1. Brand Building: As evidenced by the above quotes, teams are looking at these documentaries as global brand building exercises to get more fans, and thus more revenue. For example, Netflix has over 100+ million subscribers in over 190 countries who watch up to 125 million hours of their content each day. These deals are incredible opportunities to reach huge audiences.
2. Another Money Spinner: Man City are actually making a reported £10 million from their relationship with Amazon. Juventus’ deal has not been disclosed as of yet.
3. It’s Not Just About Football: Another key point is that these documentaries don’t just appeal to football fans. They actually appeal to broader audiences, much like other documentaries within this genre, such as ESPN’s 30 For 30 films. Again, this is a huge brand builder for a club with global ambitions.
4. Football Becomes More Like The NFL (Again): Football teams are again taking a leaf out of the NFL’s playbook. American football already has the outstanding Hard Knocks documentary series at the start of every season. Amazingly, the series is mandatory for NFL teams based on poor performances over a number of seasons.
5. But Not Completely Like The NFL: As reported, Amazon won’t have access to Man City coach Pep Guardiola’s match teamtalks. Unlike shows like the NFL’s Hard Knocks where we see everything, it would seem the documentary might be somewhat controlled by Man City.
6. Broadcasters Won’t Be Happy With These Documentaries: As reported, Sky Sports and BT aren’t happy with City’s new documentary. Despite paying huge amounts of money to have exclusive coverage of Premier League games, Amazon will now have some excellent content to themselves.
Undoubtedly more and more clubs will follow in Juventus’ and City’s footsteps.
- For smaller teams we’re likely to see complete unfiltered access being given to broadcasting giants, they’ll be in no position to negotiate.
- These programmes could become yearly series (depending on their success), much like the above examples
- We could see leagues actually regulate how clubs sign documentary deals. As is, Juventus’ and City’s deals are outside the remit of their respective leagues’ control (meaning they also miss out on receiving any revenue from these shows)
What Are The Best Sports Documentaries Ever?
Wondering what the top five sports documentaries ever are? Read my new blog post here to find out.