EXCLUSIVE: Sale join forces with TV presenter Craig Doyle and Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll in bid to crack Netflix… with Sharks leading club rugby’s charge to emulate F1 smash hit Drive to Survive
- Rugby is hoping to grow its appeal through production of fly-on-the-wall series
- Filming for a documentary on the 2023 Six Nations will commence this year
- Sale Sharks hope to be the first Premiership club to crack the Netflix market
Sale hope to be the first Premiership club to crack the streaming market and go big in the USA with filming on a behind-the-scenes documentary under way.
Rugby is hoping to follow in the footsteps of football and Formula One by growing its appeal through the production of fly-on-the-wall series. Sportsmail revealed last month that filming for a documentary on the Six Nations will begin this year with the aim of emulating the success F1 has had with Drive to Survive.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and driver George Russell have told rugby bosses about the benefits of F1’s stories being shown on Netflix and the Six Nations will soon confirm their own partnership with the streaming giant.
Sale hope to be the first Premiership club to crack the Netflix market with documentary series
A similar strategy is being pursued at club level, with Sale leading the charge. Alex Sanderson’s Sharks have been gathering footage of life at the club for two years and hope it will lead to Netflix or Amazon commissioning a documentary. Sale are also looking at American channels HBO and NBC for their series.
Sale chief executive Sid Sutton told Sportsmail: ‘What we have to do is promote rugby better and market it in a brave, innovative way. We have to humanise the players so they stand out more.
‘I believe you can promote your stars and do it in a humble way. What better opportunity to do that than with a fly-on-the-wall documentary? It’s not just the rugby, but also the human side and how the players put their lives on the line on the field.
Former Ireland and Lions great Brian O’Driscoll is involved in production of the series
BT Sport rugby host and This Morning presenter Craig Doyle (above) is also involved in the project
‘Rugby is a fantastic game and there are really good people in it. They can be the ones to promote rugby to a wider audience.’
Filming at Sale is being led by 3 Rock Productions, a company co-owned by BT Sport rugby host Craig Doyle and former Ireland and Lions great Brian O’Driscoll.
The company produce ITV’s Premiership highlights show and have created documentaries Shoulder to Shoulder and After the Roar for BT Sport.
Doyle told Sportsmail: ‘If you’re going to sell rugby, why not sell the greatest domestic league in the world? That’s the Gallagher Premiership. The rugby is unbelievably good and there are fascinating stories which are as dramatic as the sport. We want to tell the story of the league through one of its most interesting clubs.’
The Six Nations Netflix series is expected to be popular and rugby has had success with Prep to Win: Harlequins, which followed the then Premiership champions. Northampton have also produced four films covering their run to last season’s play-offs, their pre-season fitness challenge and their match with the Barbarians.
Sutton added: ‘There is education needed across rugby on the importance of marketing the game through the media. We have a responsibility to do that.’
Champions are France set to feature in a behind-the-scenes Six Nations series on Netflix
The Drive To Survive series first aired in 2019 and saw the popularity of F1 rise significantly