Documentary programming is dominating the cultural conversation. Surely, we’ve all found ourselves in a discussion about Tiger King at some stage in the past months, go on, admit it!
And yes, Michael Jordan could likely sneeze on TV and it would be a ratings winner, but the success of The Last Dance is clear demonstration of the current appetite for documentary and factual programming that tells the great stories of sport.
Cross that with our fascination and awe of the inspiring stories of iconic sports legends and you have a certain winner, all the more so in the previously unimaginable context of an absence of any live sport taking place.
In the emergence of VOD, there is a widely acknowledged demand for non-live sport content as consumers expect any time of day, day of week, access to sport. Live sport is not 24/7 but fan’s expect 24/7 engagement.
As a media genre, sport boasts two unique attributes; one, its unpredictability – it is essentially unscripted live theatre that captivates its audience, and secondly, perhaps most notably, sport has loyalty, passionate tribalism/nationalism and that loyalty extends beyond the live event drawing on a legacy and rich history of tradition, current developments, heroes, iconic figures… of which great stories are born.
The story of sport is compelling for different reasons to live sport and its role is enjoying elevated importance through the process of media disruption.
And while Michael Jordan is clearly a figure of rarified standing, the inspiring attributes of his story are common across a wide range of iconic sports figures of his, the current and the former generations.
There is immense value in the story of sport and at a time where on-demand is the expectation, sports documentary programming is proving more valuable than ever.