The Awful Announcing Wednesday Newsletter is a deep dive into all things sports media with original commentary, highlights from the week, social media buzz, and much more. Below is our “A Block” that leads off the newsletter. You can read this and more by subscribing here. We send a recap of what’s been on AA on Monday and Friday mornings as well as the extended original version on Wednesdays.
There have been so many sports documentaries that have flooded the zone in recent years that it’s hard to keep track of just which ones reach breakthrough status. For many years, ESPN’s 30 for 30 was the gold standard in the industry. For a long time, HBO battled for that title with their fair share of terrific features as well throughout the years. Then as content increased exponentially across television and streaming, every network and platform produced a tidal wave of documentaries. (Many of which we review right here!)
Who’s at the top of the industry now with so much competition? Right now, one can argue that Netflix is the place to go for sports documentaries. Certainly they’ve found a winning formula with F1’s Drive to Survive, a series so good that it’s largely credited with launching a whole new era of global fandom, especially in America. The streamer also ventured into golf and tennis with similar series in Full Swing and Break Point. Upcoming series will dive into the Tour de France, FIFA World Cup, and international rugby.
Although it was just recently released, Netflix’s Quarterback series is quickly coming alongside DtS as another major success story.
The series is backed by Peyton Manning’s powerful Omaha Productions and debuted to critical acclaim. The premise isn’t complicated – follow three different individuals who happen to play the most important position in sports. When you can grab behind-the-scenes access to the Super Bowl MVP in Patrick Mahomes, it certainly helps your case. And the series even made Kirk Cousins a likable and sympathetic figure!
But it’s clear that the success of the series extends beyond just football fans interested in the intricacies of the position. In much the same way that Drive to Survive lifted the entire sport of Formula One worldwide, Quarterback has been a crossover smash hit. In the last two weeks, Quarterback has been the #2 ranked series in the USA according to the streamer’s official Top 10 lists. It’s also ranked in the top seven globally with over 6 million views through July 23rd. FlixPatrol’s daily tracker had it as the top American show for an impressive seven straight days.
Each platform is looking for ways to differentiate itself and earn your subscription dollars. Netflix has made sports documentaries a big part of their original content offerings with the promise of even more to come on the horizon. The success of Quarterback shows why it continues to be a winning strategy.