• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -

Midweek Special: NFL Planning Two Christmas Games on a Wednesday

  • The NFL will play a doubleheader Wednesday, Dec. 25.
  • The league previously said it would avoid the holiday this year.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is coming back with force for Christmas 2024, even after the league previously said it likely couldn’t, showing both the power of its fans and the depth of stakeholders’ desire to establish a firm grasp on the holiday.

As owners meetings concluded Tuesday in Orlando, the NFL said it will play a doubleheader on Christmas, despite the fact that it will fall on Wednesday this year. Here’s how it will work: On Saturday, Dec. 21, the league will play what is expected to be a tripleheader. Four of those teams will then play again (likely against new opponents) on Dec. 25, with the same amount of rest that Thursday Night Football participants typically get after a Sunday game. The NFL previously suggested it would probably not pursue Christmas games this year due to the midweek placement on the calendar, but it left open the possibility “if the broadcast partners are interested, if it fits in our overall strategy.” 

Indeed, the viewership numbers for its three Christmas 2023 games, played on a Monday, made a massive statement in favor of a return engagement this year. CBS drew an average of 29.2 million for an early-afternoon game between the Raiders and Chiefs. Fox averaged 29 million for its late-afternoon broadcast of Giants-Eagles. And ESPN garnered an average of 27.1 million for a prime-time Ravens-49ers game. 

Those figures—all representing historic highs of some meaningful measure—completely trounced the NBA’s, which averaged 2.86 million for its set of five games, recorded viewership declines in each of those games this past Christmas, and saw its historic hold on the holiday meaningfully disrupted. “We’ve seen some unprecedented growth” in viewership on the holiday, Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s executive vice president for media distribution, told reporters in Florida. “Football brings people together, and that’s even truer on those big holidays.”

Expanding Calendar … and Streaming

More broadly, the return to Christmas this year is also emblematic of the NFL’s ongoing efforts to expand its calendar, an initiative that will also see the league’s debut game in Brazil, in which the Eagles will play either the Browns or Packers on Friday, Sept. 6, and will be streamed by Peacock. That marks yet another game moved to the “exclusively streamed” category. Last year, Peacock had a regular-season and playoff game. But, in January 2025, that streaming-only wild-card matchup will move to Amazon Prime Video, its new annual home, the league confirmed Tuesday.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Mythical Knicks Pitch to LeBron James With ‘Sopranos,’ Trump, Weinstein Leaks 14 Years Later

Video shows Tony and Carmela Soprano recruiting LeBron James to the Knicks.

The Yankees’ Radio Voice Retires, Ending an Era of Longevity

The longtime Yankees radio announcer was an industry outlier in many respects.

For Caitlin Clark and Other Rookies: Now a 29-Day Sprint to WNBA Debut

The league regular season starts swiftly after college basketball ends.

O.J. Simpson Lawyer Says He Won’t Shield Estate From Goldman, Brown Families

The executor of Simpson’s will had previously said the Goldmans would get ‘zero.’
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Inside the Most-Hyped WNBA Draft in History


Featured Today

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.
Mar 31, 2024; Portland, OR, USA; NCAA officials measure the three point line while coaches from the Texas Longhorns and NC State Wolfpack watch with referees in the finals of the Portland Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center center.
April 1, 2024

NCAA Has No One to Blame for Latest Women’s March Madness Transgressions

NCAA is still making avoidable mistakes three years after a complete overhaul.
Nov 16, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; General view of the championship banners at Assembly Hall prior to the game between Austin Peay and Indiana.
March 31, 2024

How to Make It in Basketball: Become a Manager at Indiana

Inside the Hoosiers’ unglamorous, profoundly rewarding incubator for basketball’s biggest names.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Dunham's Sports
Multiple - USA Careers

WNBA Draft Fashion Has Come a Long Way From ‘Most Athletic Accountants’ Era

The WNBA draft used to have a strict dress code, a former top pick tells FOS.
April 15, 2024

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA Chapter Officially Opens as No. 1 Overall Pick

Clark’s professional career is starting as a member of the Indiana Fever.
April 16, 2024

The WNBA Has Huge Ambitions as Caitlin Clark Finally Comes Aboard

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert is aware of the moment in front of the league.

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.
April 15, 2024

NBA’s Two Tourneys Drive Record Attendance

Total attendance for the 2023–24 season, which ended Sunday, was 22,538,518.
April 15, 2024

Wrexham, Leverkusen Write Hollywood Stories

The guaranteed payoff for Wrexham is modest but still significant.
April 15, 2024

Out of Her ‘Comfort Zone’: SNL Starts Caitlin Clark’s Whirlwind Draft Weekend

‘The Today Show,’ ESPN, and an Empire State Building photo opp.
April 14, 2024

Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark Should Make a WNBA Roster. Their Teammates Didn’t

The draft could mark a significant financial turning point for the WNBA.