Netflix Wants to License a Niche Sport and Make It Yuge

World Surf League
As Co-CEO Reed Hastings likes to say, all Netflix needs is some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and it's fine. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Netflix has reportedly inquired about buying live sports rights beyond Formula One auto racing. 

According to the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab), the streaming company recently put in a bid -- then pulled it -- for live streaming rights to the ATP tennis tour in the UK, France and several other European countries. 

Netflix also looked into women's tennis and cycling rights in the UK. And last year, it entered into negotiations to buy the World Surf League, but couldn't come to terms on it. 

“Sports is the baseline now, we all know it, and finding the right properties, the right leagues is a priority, but it is always a question of the right league, the right deal,” a Netflix insider told Deadline as the trade looked to add a little of the ol' Hamburger Helper to its pickup.

Netflix's FAANG siblings have picked up rights packages to major leagues. Apple secured a deal with Major League Baseball for Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV Plus, while Amazon is paying $1 billion a season to the NFL for Thursday Night Football on Prime Video. 

But according to WSJ, Netflix wants to find a less expensive deal with a more niche-level sports entity and build it up to a mainstream giant. 

There's precedent with auto racing and Netflix docu-series Formula One: Drive to Survive -- a show that has palpably increased the popularity of the European racing circuit. 

Netflix was reportedly in the bidding for Formula One rights when they came up for renewal over the summer, but ESPN held onto them. ▪️

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!