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NFL looking for a Hollywood partner for sports studio

Mar 29, 2022
Illustration of a ticket that looks like a football field.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The NFL has held talks with Hollywood companies about a partnership with NFL Films to launch a sports studio, a top league executive told Sports Business Journal.

Why it matters: NFL Films is widely seen as the gold standard among sports production houses.

  • "There's increasing demand for that type of content on streaming platforms and elsewhere," NFL chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp told SBJ.

The big picture: The sports documentary space has been heating up, especially following the success of ESPN's "The Last Dance."

  • Netflix has made a big push over the last few years with popular docuseries like "Last Chance U" and "Formula 1: Drive to Survive."
  • Apple TV+ has a highly anticipated docuseries on LA Lakers legend Ervin "Magic" Johnson debuting next month.
  • Apple also has a first-look deal with Meadowlark Media, the recently formed media company from former ESPN employees John Skipper and Dan Le Batard.

Be smart: The NFL is in the middle of selling a stake in its media business and finding a new home for its Sunday Ticket package, hoping to land a single buyer for both.

  • Apple and Amazon are widely seen as the leaders there, with Apple — which partnered with MLB for its first sports rights deal — given the current edge by media prognosticators.
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