Continuing to work around the edges of coveted but highly expensive live sports TV rights, Netflix has announced its first big collaboration with Major League Baseball.
The streaming company has commissioned two documentaries focused on the Boston Red Sox: one will closely track the coaches and players throughout the 2024 season, as they look to rebound from a last-place American League East finish last summer.
A second documentary will look back on the Red Sox's unlikely 2004 World Series Championship, which hung on an historic comeback from a 3-0 deficit against the New York Yankees in the American League Championship series.
Netflix's press release announcing the two projects can be found here.
The as yet unnamed 2024 season project will debut in 2025 and be executive produced and directed by Greg Whiteley of One Potato Productions (Cheer, Last Chance U, Wrestlers). Also serving as executive producers are Andrew Fried and Dane Lillegard of Boardwalk Pictures (Cheer, Chef’s Table, Race: Bubba Wallace).
The 2004 season retrospective, which will drop on Netflix "later this year," is produced by Meadowlark Media, and executive produced by Nick Barnicle, Colin Barnicle, John Skipper, Deirdre Fenton, Howard Bryant, Melody Shaffir, Nick Davis and Nick Trotta. It's directed by Colin Barnicle.
Netflix is teaming up with Major League Baseball for two new projects about the Boston Red Sox. For the first time, Netflix will follow an MLB team over the course of a full season. This docuseries will feature unprecedented access to Red Sox players, coaches and executives… pic.twitter.com/1VKdax4DvtFebruary 7, 2024
As for the Red Sox upcoming season, pundit expectations aren't necessarily high or a rebound.
The Red Sox are projected to finish last in the AL East with a 79.8 win projection, according to the latest PECOTA projections from @baseballpro.They are given a 16.2% chance to make the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/873awgejFFFebruary 6, 2024
Still, Netflix is convinced that the documentaries, focused on one of sports' most historic franchises, which is rabidly followed by one of the most obnoxious fan bases, will score with subscribers.
“Our fans love that our sports series focus on the drama of sport and nothing was more dramatic than the 2004 Red Sox season, especially having witnessed their comeback from the bleachers during Game 7 against the Yankees,” said Gabe Spitzer, VP of nonfiction sports for Netflix, in a statement.
Netflix's successful track record with sports documentaries includes last summer's collaboration with the NFL, Quarterback, which debuted as the No. 1 series in subscription streaming in the U.S. and Canada back in July.
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!