Monday, May 27, 2024

Netflix lands 2024 Christmas NFL games in latest sports streaming expansion

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The perfect holiday gift for NFL fans in 2024 might be a Netflix subscription.

They’ll need one to watch the pair of Christmas Day games that the streaming giant will carry as it acquires more sports properties and live rights. The partnership was officially announced Wednesday, though the matchups have not yet been revealed.

The league and Netflix agreed to a three-year deal, and Netflix will stream at least one holiday game for the 2025 and 2026 seasons.

In addition to making a rare move by scheduling games in the middle of the week (Dec. 25 is a Wednesday), the league now gains another media partner as it has further leaned into streaming. Prime Video began exclusively streaming “Thursday Night Football” in 2022 and the game put one of its playoff games – the AFC wild card round between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins, which set streaming records – on Peacock.

Although Netflix is not part of the NFL’s current media rights deal, the league technically created new inventory by scheduling the contests on a Wednesday. It is unknown how much Netflix paid for the Christmas Day rights.

Dec. 25 traditionally belonged to the NBA, which aired games in standalone windows the entire day. But the NFL has scheduled games for the past four years. Last year, three games averaged nearly 30 million viewers.

Netflix first broke through in sports programming with documentaries such as F1’s “Drive to Survive” and the PGA Tour’s “Full Swing.” The streamer acquired the rights for the boxing fight between. Recently, Netflix partnered with the NFL and star quarterbacks for the documentary “Quarterback,” which featured the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Kirk Cousins of the Atlanta Falcons (then with the Minnesota Vikings). “Receiver,” a documentary that chronicles wideouts, followed five pass catchers – Davante Adams (Las Vegas Raiders), Justin Jefferson (Vikings), George Kittle (San Francisco 49ers), Deebo Samuel (49ers) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (Detroit Lions) – during the 2023 season.

“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,” NFL executive vice president Hans Schroeder said in a release. “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.”

As far as live rights, Netflix has been largely untested. Netflix will carry the Jake Paul-Mike Tyson fight on July 20.

The Christmas games will be available on the participating teams’ local television markets and on U.S. mobile devices with NFL+. 

The production and announcing crews are not yet known.

The full NFL schedule, including the matchups for the Christmas Day games, will be released at 8 p.m. ET.



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