Updated from 10:44 a.m. to include additional financial information in the fifth paragraph.
Simple. It doesn't fit in with the company's core strategy.
"Sports really isn't a part of the core viewing strategy for us," Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said yesterday at an investor conference in New York. "The leagues have all the pricing power."
Netflix has been expanding its investments in original programming, with Sarandos saying the company will have 31 original programs next year, almost double what it had in 2015. That commitment, which is slated to cost the company nearly $5 billion next year, has helped boost subscribers. At the end of the third quarter, Netflix had 69.2 million subscribers around the world, of which 66 million are paid; it has nearly 24 million paid subscribers internationally.
Professional sports leagues such as the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL have all recently signed lucrative deals with television companies, including Walt Disney's (DIS - Get Report) ESPN and ABC and Time Warner's (TWX) TNT to broadcast games on their networks. With television viewership shifting from a "must-see" model to on-demand, save for news, awards shows and sports, advertising rates have dwindled for traditional shows such as sitcoms and dramas, giving sports with their lucrative and large target audiences all the pricing power.
Over the past four years, the NFL has signed television deals worth a combined $39 billion, one with its broadcast partners, FOX (FOXA) , CBS (CBS - Get Report) and NBC, and the other with DirecTV (now a part of AT&T (T - Get Report) ) to carry the exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket.
Last year, the NBA signed a 9-year, $24 billion deal with ESPN, ABC and TNT to keep its games on those respective channels.
Even though non-traditional channels such as HBO carry sports programming, such as Hard Knocks, boxing or the popular 24/7 series, could Netflix eventually enter the arena?
Anything's possible, Sarandos concluded. "We might create our own sports league, like ESPN did with the X Games, and that's interesting, but that's what it would take for me to get into sports."