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NFL to partner with "Top Gun" studio on sports studio joint venture

Tim Baysinger
Nov 16, 2022
Illustration of a ticket that looks like a football field.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The NFL will partner with "Top Gun" studio Skydance Media on a joint venture focused on sports-related content, the league announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The NFL is beefing up its content output as it looks to find a buyer for a stake in its media business.

  • The NFL had been looking for a studio partner to help it tap into the red-hot sports documentary space and move beyond the gridiron. NFL Films is considered the gold standard among sports production houses.
  • NFL Films and HBO have had a long and fruitful partnership with the "Hard Knocks" series, which follows a single team throughout training camp. An in-season version debuted last year.

Details: The joint venture will be funded by the league's investment arm, 32 Equity, and Skydance. Terms were not disclosed.

  • The majority of the content will be produced through Skydance Sports, which launched earlier this year.
  • Skydance Sports recently completed production on its first two projects for Amazon Prime Video: the soccer docuseries "Good Rivals" and an untitled Michael Jordan film starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, which was directed by Affleck.

The big picture: The NFL is in the middle of selling a stake in its media business and finding a new home for its Sunday Ticket package, both of which have drawn on longer than many expected.

  • Apple and Amazon are widely seen as the leaders there, with Google and Disney also in the mix at various points.
  • Apple — which partnered with MLB for its first sports rights deal last season — has long been viewed as the favorite, but those talks have reportedly hit snags.
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