Documentaries Seem to Now be a Mainstay in the Modern Game

There have always been documentaries about wildly successful teams, ones that defied the odds, and players who went on to become icons; many of them, however, ended up in the discount box when videos and DVDs were a thing. Now, sports documentaries seem to be a major selling point for streaming platforms, with some even hailing certain docuseries as their best content.


For sports teams, documentaries might seem like a distraction from the goals on the pitch, but even those most staunchly against these shows seem to have come around for this one novel campaign.


Timely one-shot docuseries



Two elements seem to be driving the surge of sports documentaries: timeliness and convenience. A docuseries offers eight or so hours of convenient content that can simply be flicked on while offering some access to those parts of sports teams that we rarely get to see. What’s perhaps more important is that the shows are timely, released soon after they’re announced and cover the most recent and relevant season.


Most streaming content is rather disposable, but documentaries are perhaps more so by their very nature – once you’ve learned what happened, the intrigue is gone. Sure, docuseries can get very popular, it’s why we know names like Shark Week and Deadliest Catch, and why those have expanded beyond the TV. Both of those have already transitioned into Slingo games. The slot-bingo formula continues to promote such programs through fun online games. While a sports series hasn’t reached that kind of longevity and prominence yet, one might be on its way.


Amazon’s Prime Video’s ability to create successful sports docuseries has been unmatched recently. All or Nothing is, perhaps, the best of the bunch, and each year, they pick a superb team to focus on.


All or Nothing’s impact on the sports docuseries format


All or Nothing has ventured into the dressing rooms of a whole host of professional sports teams from around the world, but the football seasons certainly take precedence. The show has documented Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Juventus, the Brazil national team, Arsenal, and last year, the German team. The Man City series, per Parrot Analytics, was in higher demand than 91.7 per cent of other documentaries in the US.


In fact, the All or Nothing-style series has inspired a document of Jürgen Klopp’s final year at Liverpool. In 2018, Klopp declined an offer from All or Nothing to film a Liverpool season, but he seems to have come around for this last hurrah. According to reports like that of Bloomberg, Liverpool has been working on behind-the-scenes footage for a while, and they’ve been in talks with networks in the meantime. 


There seems to be enough money in these sports docuseries that many top-class teams don’t mind the potential disruption to their regular schedule. They certainly help to raise the profile of clubs, and for Premier League teams, it’s an easy way to essentially gain access to the coveted, money-pumping US market. For now, then, it seems that the football docuseries will remain a part of the experience for fans and select clubs.