The Netflix Cup Credit: Netflix

This week, Netflix released its global viewing report for the second half of 2023, and the performance of one title out of the thousands listed caught our interest.

Netflix aired its first-ever live sports event, The Netflix Cup, on November 14.  It was a golf tournament between four F1 drivers and four golfers and received plenty of attention in the media.

However, all that attention didn’t result in a truckload of viewers.

Per Netflix’s report, the Netflix Cup averaged 700,000 views and 1.7 million hours viewed over its two-and-a-half-hour run-time. Both marks fall far below thousands of other titles and don’t even hold up well compared to other sports.

Compared to other sports competitions on November 14, the Netflix Cup would have ranked fifth on the day behind two college basketball games and two NBA games (along with the College Football Playoff rankings show, Pardon the Interruption, and WWE NXT), but it probably ranked lower in terms of total views given it is still available to watch on-demand and the data provided by Netflix doesn’t break out live watching and on-demand viewing.

For instance, the first season of Netflix’s Quarterback docuseries averaged 12.7 million views and totaled 81.6 million hours viewed since its debut on July 12. The Beckham docuseries premiered on October 4, totaling over 208 million hours viewed and averaging nearly 44 million views. The Netflix Cup was even eclipsed by the first season of now-canceled tennis docuseries Break Point, which premiered in January and totaled 11 million hours watched and 1.4 million viewers in the second half of 2023.

In fact, viewership for the Netflix Cup seemed more in tune with that of golf docuseries Full Swing, which premiered in February and totaled 4.9 million hours viewed and 800,000 views. The least-watched season of Formula 1: Drive to Survive, season three, totaled 5.8 million hours viewed and 900,000 views in the second half of 2023.

Netflix had more success with the third season of its Untold docuseries. Swamp Kings totaled over 29 million hours viewed over its several episodes and 9.4 million views overall, while Johnny Football picked up over 23 million hours viewed and 13.7 million views. Jake Paul: the Problem Child notched 8.9 million hours viewed and 7.4 million views overall, while Hall of Shame was watched for 7.7 million hours with 5.9 million views. Each Untold doc premiered in August.

All of this information paints a somewhat disappointing picture for Netflix. Instead of entering the live spots landscape like a lion, Netflix entered like a lamb. The company, however, has not shied away from live sports (and sports-adjacent) content since, airing the Netflix Slam in March and a roast of Tom Brady earlier this month. The streamer will also air a Jake Paul-Mike Tyson boxing match in July, two NFL games in December, and WWE’s Raw in 2025.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.