What's New NetflixNews10 Best Sports Drama TV Shows of 2023: A Must-Watch List

10 Best Sports Drama TV Shows of 2023: A Must-Watch List

10 Best Sports Drama TV Shows of 2023: A Must-Watch List

Sports dramas are like the playoffs for fans, bringing the thrill of a great game with the added excitement of gripping stories and talented actors. From football to hockey, the finest sports dramas prioritize intense storytelling over laughs. Determining the top sports drama series is no easy task, but this carefully curated list showcases the very best.

The most triumphant sports dramas deliver captivating tales that transport viewers to the court, field, or rink, offering adrenaline-pumping moments that rival the real deal. Take Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, for instance. While the game outcomes may be somewhat predictable, it still manages to hook audiences with its nonstop action. Other noteworthy sports dramas include All American, Heels, and Long Slow Exhale. Even some comedy-dramas like Brockmire and Ted Lasso take a plunge into the sports world, where the sport itself plays a significant role in the plot.

Which television sports drama series do you believe truly embodies the genre? Discover your favorites and witness the cream of the crop rise to the top.

Recent additions to this thrilling genre include My Lovely Boxer, Selection Day, and Bloodhounds.

1. Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights
Let’s head to Dillon, Texas, a small rural town where football reigns supreme. It’s not just Coach Eric Taylor and his team that revolve their lives around the game. In fact, this series, based on a book and movie with the same title, garnered critical acclaim. The talented cast, including Connie Britton as Tami, Coach Taylor’s wife and a guidance counselor, scored numerous Emmy nominations.

Actors: Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Aimee Teegarden, Brad Leland, Taylor Kitsch
Premiered: October 3, 2006

2. Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso
Spun-off from spots created for NBC’s Premier League coverage, this comedy-drama brings together the victories and setbacks of an American football coach who finds himself in charge of a British soccer team. What started as simple promotional jokes quickly transformed into one of the most buzzworthy TV shows of 2020. Sudeikis, who plays the kind-hearted coach Ted Lasso, even snagged a Golden Globe for his outstanding performance.

Actors: Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Juno Temple, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster
Premiered: August 14, 2020

3. Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai
Over three decades have passed since the epic 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament. A lot may have changed in terms of personalities and fates, but one thing remains constant – the intense rivalry between the remorseful and down on his luck Johnny Lawrence (played by William Zabka) and the proud and accomplished Daniel LaRusso (portrayed by Ralph Macchio). This captivating series, initially introduced on YouTube Red, has now been picked up by Netflix for its third season.

Actors: Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, Courtney Henggeler, Xolo Maridueña, Tanner Buchanan
Premiered: May 2, 2018

4. Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty

Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty
Basketball was struggling before the Showtime Lakers came along, but everything changed when one man’s ego took center stage. This gripping portrayal of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, molded by Dr. Jerry Buss and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, is based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.

During its first season, the series gained immense popularity, but the real-life individuals who were portrayed in the show felt betrayed and voiced their protests. In response, HBO clarified that “Winning Time is not a documentary and has not been presented as such. However, the series is grounded in extensive factual research and reliable sourcing.”

Actors: John C. Reilly, Quincy Isaiah, Jason Clarke, Gaby Hoffmann, Hadley Robinson
Premiered: March 6, 2022

5. Kingdom

In the midst of trying to keep his business running smoothly, Alvery Kulina, the owner of an MMA gym, is faced with the challenge of nurturing the next wave of fighters. Located in the picturesque setting of Venice, California, Kulina and his family strive to strike a harmonious equilibrium between their athletic pursuits, the demands of running a business, and maintaining a strong family bond.

Kulina, portrayed by Frank Grillo, finds himself grappling with the difficulties of maintaining his gym’s financial stability. However, he remains determined to cultivate a new generation of talented fighters who can carry on his legacy. Despite the numerous obstacles they encounter, the Kulina family perseveres in their quest for success.

Within this vibrant backdrop, Alvery’s two sons, Nate and Jay, played by Nick Jonas and Jonathan Tucker respectively, play integral roles in their family’s journey. As they navigate the intricate dynamics of their sport, business responsibilities, and their familial ties, they strive to strike a delicate balance that allows them to excel in all aspects of their lives.

With the breathtaking scenery of Venice, California as their backdrop, the Kulina family embarks on an inspiring and challenging journey. Together, they face the trials and tribulations of managing a business while nurturing a new generation of fighters, all while cherishing the importance of family.

Actors: Frank Grillo, Kiele Sanchez, Matt Lauria, Jonathan Tucker, Nick Jonas
Premiered: October 8, 2014

6. Heels

In a small town in Georgia, two brothers named Jack (played by Stephen Amell) and Ace (played by Alexander Ludwig) find themselves in a wrestling showdown for their father’s wrestling promotion. Both brothers clash not only outside the ring but also inside it. Their intense rivalry mirrors the scripted matches they perform, where one brother takes on the role of a “face” (the hero) and the other a “heel” (the villain). However, the lines between good and bad are not as clear-cut in their personal lives.

The series received positive feedback from critics and gained a significant following. Its popularity led to a quick renewal for a second season after the exciting conclusion of the first season.

Actors: Stephen Amell, Alexander Ludwig, Alison Luff, Mary McCormack, Kelli Berglund
Premiered: August 15, 2021

7. All American

All American
Spencer James (played by Daniel Ezra) was recruited from Crenshaw to join a high school in Beverly Hills. He made a big decision to leave everything behind and live with his new coach. However, it wasn’t easy for him to fit into this new world that didn’t readily embrace him. The series, inspired by the experiences of professional football player Spencer Paysinger, has been highly praised and has even received several nominations for the NAACP Image Awards.

Actors: Daniel Ezra, Taye Diggs, Samantha Logan, Bre-Z, Greta Onieogou
Premiered: October 10, 2018

8. Brockmire

After an intense on-air meltdown that resulted in the loss of his job, Jim Brockmire, a well-known major league baseball announcer, decides to make a hesitant comeback after ten long years. This marks his return to the booth and the beloved career he once had. Originally starting as a web-series from Funny or Die, the show quickly gained popularity and became IFC’s highest-rated new series during its first season.

Actors: Hank Azaria, Amanda Peet, Tyrel Jackson Williams, Katie Finneran, Hemky Madera
Premiered: April 5, 2017


Out-of-work actress Ruth Wilder, played by Alison Brie, finds herself among a group of Hollywood misfits who are embracing glitter, spandex, and big hair to make a name for themselves in the world of women’s wrestling. The show is a fictionalized version of the 1980s syndicated women’s professional wrestling circuit known as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW). While the series was generally well-received by critics, the original GLOW wrestlers had mixed feelings about it.

Actors: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young
Premiered: June 23, 2017

10. One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill
Two half brothers, Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty), are in a constant competition for spots on their school’s basketball team. But their rivalry doesn’t just stay on the court; it spills over into their personal lives as well.

What made this series stand out during its time was its strong emphasis on basketball in the first season. It used the sport as a driving force, much like court and medical dramas use their unique disciplines to propel the story forward.

Actors: Sophia Bush, Bethany Joy Lenz, James Lafferty, Robert Buckley, Austin Nichols
Premiered: September 23, 2003

Emma Isabella
Emma Isabella
Emma is a regular contributor to WhatsNewNetflix. She likes delving into the world of Netflix TV shows as well as studying films, especially comedies.


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