The Best Sports Documentary Series for Streaming: Updated 2021

The very best sports series available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime and other platforms in 2021.

Formula One driver waits in the pits for fuel

The world of sport is a lot more than what we see on a pitch, field, or race track.

So much goes on behind the scenes, fans are often left in the dark and their judgement remains on performances on match day.

However, thanks to the growth of streaming services, we are now seeing more and more ‘docuseries’ on sport – where we are given behind the scenes access to sport and their teams.

Here are some of the best sports documentary series you can watch right now:

The Last Dance

Most sports fans will already have caught this global smash featuring Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, but if you haven’t then you are in for a treat! The ESPN documentary follows Jordan’s career from his college days to starring for possibly the greatest NBA team of all time.

The ‘Last Dance’ refers to the Bulls’ attempt to win a 7th NBA title, and features an all-star team including Scottie Pippen and Denis Rodman among others.

Where to watch: Netflix

Last Chance U

Moving onto its 6th season on Netflix, Last Chance U follows the football (and basketball) programmes of Community Colleges as they attempt to turn a team of often troubled players into a winning outfit.

Many of the players featured don’t lack for talent but had difficulties adapting to life as college football players. Playing for Community College teams gives them a last shot at hooking up with an NCAA football team, and possibly even a career in the NFL.

The latest season in 2021 has seen the focus shift to basketball instead of football, but the show hasn’t lost any of its edge or emotion.

Where to watch: Netflix

All or Nothing

Amazon Prime began their All or Nothing docuseries back in 2016, covering the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL and documented their entire season.

This series was the first time we saw a behind the scenes look at an NFL team over the whole season, including on the field and off the field coverage.

Working with NFL Films, they collected over 1,000 hours of footage before the series was released to high acclaim.

Since then, the All or Nothing series has grown to include series on college sports with the Michigan Wolverines, rugby union with the All Blacks and football with Manchester City and the Brazilian national team. Not all of these have proved to be as watchable as the NFL versions, but there are always a few nuggets to enjoy.

With never-before-seen access and high ratings, it is likely we’ll see All or Nothing continue for the foreseeable future.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

Formula 1: Drive to Survive

One of the most enthralling and high-octane sports on the calendar is Formula 1, which sees 20 cars battle it out at up to and over 200mph.

Season one, which can be found on Netflix, covers the 2018 season, which gets off to an engrossing start when Haas were on course for their best ever finishes before both were out of the race with wheel nut issues.

Unfortunately, the first season didn’t include Ferrari and Mercedes, but they were signed on for the second season.

Drivers are often very outgoing and we see more into their lives than a footballer for example, however this is an even more in-depth look into the paddocks.

Both long time fans of F1 and those who are new to the sport will find the series enjoyable, intriguing and even sometimes emotional.

Where to Watch: Netflix

The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team

Back in May 2018, Justin Langer was appointed as the new coach of the Australia national cricket team.

Usually, a new coach brings a new sense of optimism and rejuvenation around the team, but this time it wasn’t the case.

Just two months before, Australia were involved in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal – which saw captain Steve Smith and David Warner banned for 12 months and Cameron Bancroft for 9 months.

The scandal rocked the sport and the Australian cricket team had to fight back just to resume normality and regain their integrity.

The Amazon Prime series covers Australia’s fall from grace to their attempts to retain The Ashes in England a year later, with the return of banned players a major talking point.

It is fantastic coverage which shows a national team at its lowest, its highest and everything in between.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

Sunderland ‘Til I Die

Following Sunderland’s relegation from the Premier League in 2017, the ambitions of the club was to return to the top-flight as soon as possible.

Netflix began filming the following summer and little did they know, they’d be covering the Mackem’s second successive relegation.

Everything seemed to go wrong that season, and it was perfectly covered in the series.

We see the ins and outs of a struggling club, figuring out where things went wrong on the field and off the field.

Season two is a lot more uplifting for Sunderland fans, as the club had new owners, a new manager and a new lease of life.

Despite this, there’s still plenty of drama which leaves you hanging on and is almost impossible not to binge.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Hard Knocks

Broadcast on HBO and more recently available in the UK on Sky, Hard Knocks has been dubbed as “the first sports-based reality series” in television history.

Starting in 2001, the series shows the personal lives of NFL players, coaches and staff and has a particular focus on rookies adjusting to a professional career.

The first two series covered the Baltimore Ravens’ defence of the Super Bowl and Dallas Cowboy’s difficult 2002 season.

Hard Knocks took a five-year hiatus before returning in 2007 and has been broadcast every year since.

With the series being an original concept almost 20 years ago and remaining a hit today, it is without a doubt the best sport docuseries out there.

Even those who aren’t knowledgeable in the sport can find enjoyment out of the series, especially the internal battles and contract disputes.

Where to Watch: HBO / Sky

When Eagles Dare

Crystal Palace’s 2012-13 season in the English Championship may not on the face of it seem like sufficient fodder for a documentary series. However, you will quickly become engrossed, as Palace rise from the brink of administration in 2010 to challenging for a place in the Premier League.

This Palace team was made up of a mixture of grizzled veterans as well as young tyros like star winger Wilfried Zaha. They also happen to be a very likeable bunch of lads, and when adversity strikes you find yourself rooting for them.

Unlike the soulless exercise that was Man. City’s ‘All or Nothing’ series, this one has real heart and soul, along with superb access from that roller-coaster 2012-13 season.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Jordan is a journalism graduate with a background in sports journalism covering football across a number of online publications, who now works in Gibraltar producing content for Mansion.
Related Posts

Comments are closed.