Netflix Foiled In Attempt To Buy WSL
It's no secret that in 2012 Dirk Ziff and the WSL bought the old ASP for a song. It's been reported to be as low as a $1, but whatever the price, it was a fire sale.
There was no bargain for Netflix when they reportedly tried to buy the World Surf League last year.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal broke the news in a story titled Netflix Explores Investing in Sports Leagues, Bidding on Streaming Rights, the gist of which is Netflix diversifying its catalogue by streaming sports.
For major sports such as tennis and cycling, Netflix planned to stream select competitions, or to stream in some countries. They'd recently bid on ATP rights and, as per the WSJ, "also discussed bidding for a series of other events including U.K. rights to the Women’s Tennis Association and cycling competitions."
For "lesser known" sports - the WSJ's quote marks - Netflix planned to buy the league outright.
"The company late last year was in talks to buy the World Surf League, but negotiations fell apart because the two organizations couldn’t reach an agreement on a price, people familiar with the potential deal said."
Since it acquired professional surfing just over ten years ago, the WSL watched the surf industry wither and largely pull away from pro surfing. The result was the WSL was left to carry the can as the infrastructure expanded through a third tour (CT, CS, and QS), plus additional longboard and big wave tours.
The WSJ article continues by stating that Netflix could turn pro surfing into a big franchise "and create new sporting tournaments or events."
We'd have to assume that would be funded via a succesful pay-to-view listing on Netflix. Which, aside from the news about the almost-sale, sees a return to the old chestnut about surfing contests as pay-per-view.