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Modern TV shows found on streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO Max, and Apple TV tend to fall into some well-worn categories, but one furrow that is not ploughed too often by producers is the sports-based TV drama or comedy. This may be because sports bettors and dedicated fans would rather watch the real thing while making use of their free bets and live score apps, instead of watching a fictionalized reimagining of the sport they follow and bet on. It could also be due to the fact that many sports only appeal to viewers from certain regions around the world, rather than having a truly global reach.
Whatever the reason for the dearth of sports-based TV shows, there are some that have managed to break through and stand the test of time. Here are just some of the ones that will have you whooping as though you were sat in the bleachers or courtside yourself.
Beartown – HBO Max
This story of a washed-up NHL player returning to a Swedish backwater town in the freezing north of the country has flown under the radar of many sports fans, not least because the ice hockey has not been the focal point of the show’s promotional materials and trailers. However, ice hockey means everything to the characters in the show, who battle to keep their beloved team alive while at the same time trying to ensure that societal pressures and attitude changes do not irreparably damage the fragile truce that exists between the town’s factions. It’s certainly a hard-hitting show, with its twists and turns being every bit as dramatic as the plays made out on the local rink.
The frozen north is the setting for Beartown, which shows the grittier side of ice hockey in a small industrial Swedish town
Ted Lasso – Apple TV
The idea of an American coming to coach a top-level Premier League football team would be laughed at by most sports betting experts and pundits, but that is the scenario put forward by the writers of the heart-warming sports comedy, Ted Lasso. The show begins with many of the sorts of misunderstandings and mishaps that a footy fan would expect from a clueless American sports aficionado, with the idea of a drawn game being completely alien to Lasso, and football terminology also leaving him stumped. Of course, many of the jokes here have been seen before and the series risks verging on cliché, only for it to turn itself around beautifully and become a truly uplifting show that will please even those fans who follow footy closely enough to wager free bets on its weekly fixtures. The beauty of Ted Lasso, though, is that anyone can enjoy the show, whether they are a big football fan or not, because its overriding themes have universal appeal.
Jason Sudeikis’s Ted Lasso character was honed during time spent with staff and players at Tottenham Hotspur
Inside Edge – Netflix
More ice, but this time Inside Edge is all about the more glamorous sport of figure skating. It was always a risk making a show about such a niche sport and it has not been given the green light for a second series, but that should not put off folks from tuning into what is a truly entertaining show, all about the pressures and strains that exist in such a closed off part of the sporting world.
Ballers – HBO Max
It is often said that the true dramas in sport take place behind the scenes, as dodgy deals are done to irrevocably alter the trajectories of promising playing careers or even entire clubs and franchises. It is exactly those sorts of stories that interest viewers of Ballers, a show that follows the business dealings of a sports agent played by none other than Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Although Johnson is usually involved in shockingly average Hollywood movie productions, Ballers bucks the trend and is probably not far from the truth in showing how deals are done in the boardrooms of sports stadia in the US and around the world.