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Netflix to livestream Nadal-Alcaraz face-off in March

(Reuters) - Netflix will livestream a tennis face-off between 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal and current World No.2 Carlos Alcaraz on March 3, the streaming pioneer said on Monday.

"The Netflix Slam" marks the company's latest foray into live sports after a celebrity golf tournament in November, which featured Formula One drivers and professional golfers.

Live sports streaming by big tech firms has seen growing viewership in recent years and the companies are cashing in on the trend. Amazon Prime snapped up the rights to Thursday Night Football, while Apple TV hosts Friday Night Baseball and Major League Soccer.

The Nadal-Alcaraz match, hosted by MGM Resorts International, will take place at noon inside the Michelob ULTRA Arena at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. More players and matches will be announced later, Netflix said in a statement.

Big tech's foray into live sports has challenged traditional TV-focused companies, for which live sports remains a rare bright spot, at a time when cord-cutting is upending their business models.

Netflix has suggested it does not plan to compete for sports rights, with finance chief Spencer Neumann saying in September that it was hard to see a return on billions of dollars of investment in live sports.

Instead, the company plans to focus on what is called sports shoulder programming - companion content such as its "Formula 1: Drive to Survive" documentary series that hopes to tap the same audience base as live sports.

The tennis face-off between Nadal and Alcaraz will stream as a dual broadcast in English and Spanish. Tickets for the event start at $88 and will go on sale on Friday.

"I am sure it will be a fantastic night of tennis," Nadal said in a statement.

(Reporting by Jaspreet Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai)