Netflix on Wednesday announced a new pair of projects focused on the Boston Red Sox. One, a documentary, will revisit Boston’s 2004 championship season. The other is a docuseries that will follow the team during this upcoming season.
“The partnership between MLB, Netflix and the Red Sox will have a significant impact on growing the game of baseball,” Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner said in a statement. “The reach of Netflix is profound and these docuseries are ambitious. One will relive one of the most magical stories that forever changed this franchise, and the other is a truly groundbreaking endeavor that will provide an inside look at the lives and personalities of today’s Red Sox players.”
Netflix is teaming up with Major League Baseball for two new projects about the Boston Red Sox.
For the first time, Netflix will follow an MLB team over the course of a full season. This docuseries will feature unprecedented access to Red Sox players, coaches and executives… pic.twitter.com/1VKdax4Dvt
The documentary will examine Boston’s 2004 baseball season through interviews with key players and figures from the team. That year, the Red Sox became the first team in major league history to recover from a three-game postseason deficit, defeating the Yankees in the American League Championship Series in seven games. The Red Sox subsequently swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series to win their first championship since 1918.
The 2004 Red Sox team broke the supposed curse that sentenced the franchise to an eight-decade championship drought after it sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920. Before the 2004 title, the Red Sox had played in four previous World Series since 1918 and lost them all.
Netflix said it will release the project later this year.
The docuseries will follow the Red Sox throughout the 2024 season, providing behind-the-scenes access to players, coaches and executives throughout this season. It will debut in 2025.
The decision to focus on a team that is not projected near the top of the league standings this year is rooted in discussions between Netflix and MLB dating back to 2021. Initial conversations did not involve the Red Sox, and were more focused on finding a way to use Netflix’s global reach to grow interest in the sport, according to the Athletic.
They discussed several concepts for a show, including a potential focus on multiple teams or multiple players, but ultimately settled on a single team in Boston, which finished last in the American League East last year. Team executives have said they will not receive financial compensation for the project, which they hope will expand baseball’s reach at a time when interest in the sport has waned.
“We are not getting paid for this, nor are the players,” Red Sox chief marketing officer Adam Grossman told MLB.com. “This is really about marketing and growing the game of baseball across the globe.”
The Red Sox projects extend Netflix’s push to expand sports programming in recent years. Its 2019 series in partnership with Formula One, “Formula 1: Drive To Survive,” is set to release its sixth season later this month, and has inspired similar productions that take viewers behind the scenes across sports leagues including the NFL (“Quarterback”), PGA Tour (“Full Swing”) and top professional tennis tours (“Break Point”).
“Our fans love that our sports series focus on the drama of sport and nothing was more dramatic than the 2004 Red Sox season, especially having witnessed their comeback from the bleachers during Game 7 against the Yankees,” said Gabe Spitzer, Netflix’s vice president of nonfiction sports. “We’re thrilled to partner with this iconic franchise to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the greatest sports comeback ever, while also looking forward to the team’s future with inside access to their 2024 campaign.”