Netflix smashes the data bank to E3 bids farewell.

The Takeaway is Trippant’s round-up of essential stories on communications trends in sport, entertainment and experience.  

This week: Netflix breaks the data bank, Matt Gentry talks Andy Murray with The Story Board, E3 ends, Rahm and Ohtani go huge, SailGP retakes the water, Whamageddon looms, and much more.

The Hollywood Reporter and The Town on the Netflix data dump

In a break from its traditional ratings opacity, Netflix has released its biggest ever tranche of viewership data, with an 18,000-row spreadsheet cataloguing the performance of near enough every show and movie on its platform from January to June 2023. 

‘What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report’ is said to account for over 100 billion hours of viewing and will give everyone in the sports and entertainment business plenty to chew over during the festive period. And the company has promised to release further reports every six months from now on. 

It is an intriguing change of direction after this year’s Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes drew out the discomfort over prior secrecy. On The Town podcast, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos talks it all through with Puck’s Matt Belloni.

Meanwhile, the streamer’s baby steps into live sport will continue with the Netflix Slam – a showdown between tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz. It seems to indicate that, for now, Netflix will continue to build its own sporting IP, rather than buying rights.

Variety and IGN on the end of E3

Through the 1990s, 2000s and early 2010s, the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles was a bombastic highlight of the video game calendar: a place where buzz was born, news was broken and hype took flight. 

Now, after years of decline, it has been permanently cancelled, definitively ending an era of gaming industry communications and marketing. 

Matt Gentry joins The Story Board

As the longtime agent of Sir Andy Murray, Matt Gentry has had a hand in guiding one of British sport’s greatest careers. 

And he has also been reshaping that career for a life after competitive tennis, through the growth of a talent management business and a series of early-stage investments in everything from sportswear to padel. 

Matt appears on the latest edition of The Story Board podcast to tell Trippant’s Eoin Connolly about the Murray journey, the art of giving and receiving clear counsel, making room for strategy in the day-to-day grind, and much more. 

The BBC on the rise and rise of Shohei Ohtani

In Major League Baseball, the ability to pitch and hit to an elite level is almost priceless – almost, that is, because the LA Dodgers have put a figure on it of $700 million over the next ten years. 

That’s the value of the contract that Shohei Ohtani has signed to move across town from the Angels, with the 29-year-old agreeing to defer payment of $680 million until it expires. The extraordinary deal is confirmation – if it were needed – that a generational talent from Japan will leave a historic mark on America’s pastime. on Jon Rahm’s LIV Golf switch

Even allowing for the eye-popping largesse of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the $400 million spent to entice Jon Rahm from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf is a pretty remarkable outlay – not least given that the two tours have been closing on a game-changing merger for most of this year.

The Masters champion is the highest-profile player to defect since that agreement was announced in June. So given the risk to his reputation, is this an attempt by PIF to hurry matters along? Or a chance for Rahm to cash in on a narrowing window of opportunity?

Forbes on the SailGP sustainability mission

Following a nervy and sometimes tetchy round of negotiations, the COP28 climate summit in Dubai ended this week with an international agreement to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. 

There were sports organisations in attendance at the conference to discuss how they could contribute to a cleaner, safer future for the environment. Among them was SailGP, the global catamaran series built from the ground up to foster innovation, technological progress and responsible consumption. 

Fiona Morgan, the series’ chief purpose officer, explains how it is taking that approach into a fourth season on the water.  

SportBusiness on the road ahead for Super League Triathlon

Back in 2020, Super League Triathlon showcased the potential of connected fitness tools when it integrated Zwift technology into its Arena Games concept – bringing one of the great outdoor endurance sports into some altogether more compact venues. 

Now, the promoter wants to scale up, with a rebrand, an officially recognised virtual series and a move into mass participation on the cards for 2024.

Fast Company talks to Under Armour’s Stephanie Linnartz 

After an explosive period of early growth that saw it threaten some of sportswear’s major powers, Under Armour has had its share of wobbles and controversies in more recent times, struggling to settle on a core identity and watching key trends pass it by. 

As her first year as CEO nears its close, Stephanie Linnartz lays out the challenge ahead for a company looking to restore its previous lustre – and rebuild a share price that has dropped 85% from its 2015 peak. 

The Drum on Carlsberg’s Liverpool FC extension

Danish brewer Carlsberg has been a sponsor of Premier League giants Liverpool for over three decades, and recently signed a renewal for a further ten years. 

How will the two parties discover fresh value in that alliance? The brand has created a new campaign toasting that shared history and looking ahead to the future. 

The New York Times on Whamageddon

Football stadium DJs are prone to some rogue song selections but few ever feel the need to apologise for them, as happened when Wham’s Last Christmas hit the speakers at Northampton Town FC earlier this month. 

Many of the 7,000 in attendance had been trying to avoid the festive pop staple – and not for the reasons you might expect. Welcome to Whamageddon, the public advent challenge reshaping a little bit of Christmas listening tradition.

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