How Documentaries Became A Proven Formula To Attract Young Demographic To Sports?

Now, it’s athletics’ turn.

Spurred by the tremendous appetite of sports fans for behind-the-scene footage and even non-sports devouts who love intriguing drama and great storylines, sports documentaries have become a major hit in recent years. Almost every month we’re blessed with a docuseries on legendary players, formidable teams, or iconic historical events, and they do resonate. 

Only last week Netflix confirmed that they are working on a six-part docuseries, in association with the World Athletics Federation, that will feature some of the fastest humans on the earth. This is going to be their fourth such docuseries, from the same production company- Box to Box Films – that came up with Drive To Survive, a popular series on Formula 1.

Following the immense success of Drive To Survive – credited for not only reviving the dwindling interest in racing sports but also bringing millions of new eyeballs – tennis and golf too joined hands with Box to Box Films, hoping for a similar windfall gain. “These shows quickly appealed to core fans of golf and tennis, and also recruited brand new fans from all around the world,” said Brandon Riegg, Netflix’s vice president of unscripted and documentary series.

Tennis has been grappling with declining interest as most of its fanbase revolves around Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic. With Federer already bidding adieu to the game, and the likes of Nadal and Djokovic in the last wind, tennis is feeling the heat of dwindling interest. Break Point was released earlier this year to launch their next-gen stars to young fans, and though the verdict hasn’t been much promising, that hasn’t stopped other sports from venturing into this zone. Now, it’s athletics’ turn. Yet to be named, the docuseries will come next year, just ahead of the Paris Olympics. 

What explains sports’ new-found affinity to documentaries? Perhaps the best answer came from World Athletics President Sebastian Coe himself when he said he can’t afford to lose this race “to continue to capture the imagination of young people”. He adds, “It’s not a race against other sports. It’s a race against all those outside influences that take up their time and, quite frankly, in some cases are more exciting and relevant to their lives.”

Coe’s alarmist clarion call perfectly summed up how sports have now evolved from mere live events to a full-fledged television product, fighting for their share of time against countless other entertainment shows. What explains the allure of such documentaries is that the unfiltered access to players and teams helps them capture the tension and drama inherent to the game with greater effect. 

“When Drive To Survive was released, the F1 was going through a crisis. Their old fans were doing it, and the game had no technological relevance. However, the documentary changed everything for them. They are now one of the most popular sports,” says Jamie Reigle, the former Formula E CEO. Reigle also told how young fans are interested in simply the racing but they are always eager to know more about their drivers, their personal lives, and their hobbies. These documentaries, it must be said, do a great job of laying bare those hidden aspects of the sportstars.

Source link

Leave a Comment