Source: Fast Company
Imagine for a moment that when the 2017 Brooklyn Nets finished last in the NBA, they got demoted to the G-League, lost major TV deals, saw revenues plummet, and the team had to fire half its staff.
Unlike American sports, finishing last in English professional soccer isn’t just a major hit to a team’s ego, resulting in maybe a fired coaching staff and the reward of a higher draft pick. When your team is kicked out of the entire league, there are major consequences that reverberate far beyond the pitch.
After Sunderland Football Club was relegated from the Premier League in 2017, it lost tens of millions of dollars in TV revenue and was forced to lay off more than 90 people.
“Sunderland Til I Die,” an eight-episode documentary series that premiered in December on Netflix, chronicles the club’s first season in the Championship, England’s second-tier league. What starts as an ambitious project to gain promotion back up to the top tier quickly becomes (spoiler alert) a dramatic downward spiral.
While the story of the team’s plight on the pitch is compelling, the docuseries’ real power is how it puts the club’s trials into context through the hearts of its fans, and the very real effects of relegation on its employees and the community.
“Sunderland ‘Til I Die” is available now on Netflix.
Read the story at Fast Company.
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