Netflix Lands NFL Christmas Day Games In Latest Step-Up In Sports

Netflix has secured rights to an NFL doubleheader on Christmas Day, taking another leap forward in live sports,

After this year, the streaming giant will carry at least one holiday game over the next three years. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Bloomberg reported the fee was less than $150 million per game.

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Rumored in recent weeks, the deal was formally announced by the league as it also prepared to release its entire 2024-25 schedule Wednesday night. Teams and matchups featured on Christmas (a Wednesday this year) will be part of the full schedule reveal.

Netflix on Wednesday afternoon is giving its first-ever in-person upfronts presentation to advertisers. A few key NFL dates and have dribbled out this week as media and tech companies have held upfronts in New York.

For Netflix, the games advance its sports ambitions, providing the latest contradiction of the company’s longstanding insistence that it wasn’t following Amazon, YouTube and Apple into live sports. With its 18-month-old advertising tier an increasing corporate priority, Netflix has added WWE wrestling (starting in 2025) as well as made-for-streaming golf, tennis and boxing matches. Its recent roast of former NFL great Tom Brady proved a blockbuster.

A fundamental truth also helped drive the deal: NFL games, which accounted for more than 90 of the top 100 programs on TV in 2023, are the ultimate trophy for any network or streaming service and will likely enable Netflix to pursue more top-tier rights. The company took a run at Formula 1 before the auto racing circuit renewed with Disney-ESPN. As they did with advertising, executives have spent years insisting they were highly unlikely to commit to sports.

The NFL has been increasingly willing to turn to streaming as a way of driving more distribution revenue and expand the audience for football. Games carried on streaming skew younger, in line with a key strategic priority for the league.

Netflix established ties with the NFL in 2023 with the unscripted hit Quarterback. This summer, Receiver is set to premiere on Netflix and will follow five of the NFL’s best pass catchers through their 2023 season on and off the field.

“Last year, we decided to take a big bet on live — tapping into massive fandoms across comedy, reality TV, sports and more,” Netflix Chief Content Officer, Bela Bajaria said in the official announcement. “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.”

“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,” says Hans Schroeder, NFL 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.”

The NFL launched Christmas games in 1971 before bringing them back on a semi-regular basis in 1989. Since 2020, they’ve been a holiday staple with last year’s three Christmas games ranking among the top 25 most viewed TV programs of 2023. As with other streaming exclusives on Prime Video and Peacock, he Netflix Christmas Day games  will air on broadcast TV in the competing team cities, and be available on U.S. mobile devices with NFL+

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