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Sunday, May 19, 2024

NFL Signs Three-Year Christmas Day Deal With Netflix

  • The streamer will show two holiday games in 2024 and one apiece in ’25 and ’26.
  • The move comes after Netflix already planned an NFL docuseries, ‘Receiver,’ for this summer. 
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL and Netflix on Wednesday announced a major partnership, with the giant streamer scoring two Christmas Day games in 2024 and one holiday game apiece in ’25 and ’26. The pact marks the first live-game deal between Netflix and the NFL, which already has a long-term deal with Amazon Prime Video for Thursday Night Football.

Terms of the three-year deal were not disclosed. But Front Office Sports previously reported bidding for the two Christmas Day games would start at $50 million and could total $100 million. The move is a direct challenge to the NBA, which has long dominated Christmas Day sports programming with its slate of five yuletide games.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be the first professional sports league to partner with Netflix to bring live games to fans around the world,” said Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s executive vice president of media distribution. “The NFL on Christmas has become a tradition and to partner with Netflix, a service whose biggest day of the year is typically this holiday, is the perfect combination to grow this event globally for NFL fans.”

Netflix previously partnered with the NFL on the docuseries Quarterback, from Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. A sequel, dubbed Receiver and following five star wideouts, is set to premiere this summer. And, lest we forget, Netflix generated massive headlines with its bawdy roast of Tom Brady.

“Last year, we decided to take a big bet on live—tapping into massive fandoms across comedy, reality TV, sports, and more,” said Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s chief content officer. “There are no live annual events, sports or otherwise, that compare with the audiences NFL football attracts. We’re so excited that the NFL’s Christmas Day games will be only on Netflix.”

Here’s a glimpse of what Netflix just bought, in 2023 numbers: Last Christmas, which fell on a Monday, CBS averaged 29.2 million viewers for an early-afternoon game, Fox averaged 29 million in the late afternoon, and ESPN hit 27.1 million in prime time.

With more than 260 million global subscribers, Netflix is regarded as the most successful streamer. But the question for years has been one of when—or whether—they would enter the live sports game. That question has now been answered. With Netflix officially in the mix, legacy networks will have to watch their backs from now on in rights talks.

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