Most basketball fans, even general sports enthusiasts, have watched the Netflix series “The
Last Dance” which focused on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. A lot of the in-game footage and highlights had been shown on our screens over and over since the 90’s, but it was the behind the scenes footage that I most enjoyed.
Seeing MJ’s competitive nature off the court was one of the highlights, even in a friendly game of pitching quarters, and it shone a spotlight on John Michael Wozniak, who became an almost instant celebrity. The exchange between Jordan and the security guard even received the Saturday Night Live treatment by inspiring a hilarious four-minute sketch.
Cricket lovers frothed the BTS look at the Aussie cricket team, “The Test”, so much so that it’s recently been announced that Season 2 has been locked in. Again, the on-field footage was awesome, but it was the little snippets of Marcus Stoinis, Mitch Marsh and Adam Zampa that had audiences binge-watching episode after episode. The drama and aggro seen inside the change-rooms after a bad call by an umpire was the epitome of good television. Every below average cricketer loved seeing a batsman taking his aggression out on a defenceless kit bag or nearby bin.
Covid-19 lockdowns introduced a whole new audience to Formula 1 through the “Drive To Survive” series and the follow on effects of that have been enormous. F1 popularity has skyrocketed over the past two seasons, especially in the Netherlands and the USA, with TV audiences up to 1.55bn in the 2021 season and 2.69m fans watching races on-track.
Throughout the season, Mercedes, Ferrari and
Red Bull Racing all fight for the World Title but it was the tension between drivers on the same team that was the highlight. Crashing into your teammate is seen as a massive no-no but great for TV. Team principals really stole the show, a lot of them are big personalities themselves and seeing them in high pressure scenarios was hilarious at times and stressful in others. Drive To Survive really had everything – High-octane racing, explosive crashes and even Ginger Spice, who is married to Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner.
Formula 1 trading cards have since seen a massive spike in interest. Topps released a number of products in 2020 after a long hiatus, with the record for the most expensive card being broken a number of times recently. The current record stands at $900,000 USD, for a 2020 Topps Chrome Superfractor of 7-time World Champion, Lewis Hamilton. Funnily enough, the card has been graded a 7 by PSA (The world leading grading and authentication company) and is the only one of its kind in existence. Who knows what the card would have sold for had it graded a 10.
AFL and NRL have tested the water with BTS docu-series’ but haven’t committed to the Hard Knocks model of following a new team every season. There is definitely the appetite for it and with an emphasis on original material and trying to engage audiences, there’s really no reason why every professional sporting team and league shouldn’t be producing their own content.