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Netflix to stream NFL games on Christmas Day


Netflix will stream Christmas Day National Football League games for the next three years, in its first true step into live sports.

The streaming platform will show two games on Christmas Day this year, followed by at least one matchup in both 2025 and 2026, the league announced Wednesday. The games will continue to be available on broadcast TV in local team markets and on the NFL+ mobile app.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but people familiar with the matter said Netflix will pay in the ballpark of $75 million per game. Spokespeople for the NFL and Netflix declined to comment.

The streamer will hire its own announcers for the games and partner with existing production companies. Sarandos told CNBC he felt the NFL was the right fit because it matched the streamer’s event strategy, allowing Netflix to effectively own the day.

Netflix has drawn large audiences with sports programming, from the “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” documentary to its “Quarterback” series following NFL signal callers. While the company took major strides into live programming with a deal to stream the WWE’s “Raw” and a boxing fight between Mike Tyson and Jake Paul, the company suggested it had not found a live sports rights strategy that worked for it.

“We have not seen a profit path to renting big sports,” Sarandos said in December 2022.

“We’re not anti-sports, we’re just pro-profit,” Sarandos said.

Now, Netflix will stream games for the most-watched U.S. sports league, at a time when it is trying to boost profits by raising subscription prices, pushing users toward an ad-tier membership and cracking down on password sharing.

The games could give Netflix a major draw for advertisers. The three Christmas Day NFL games averaged 28.68 million viewers last year, according to Sports Media Watch.

The Christmas Day matchups can function as a marketing ramp up for Netflix before it starts airing “Raw” in January.

The streaming giant’s forays into live events have not come without issues. Its live reunion event for the hit reality TV show “Love Is Blind” in April 2023 had a technical bug that delayed the stream for more than an hour, at which point the show was no longer live.

The announcement comes as streamers across the industry show increasing interest in live sports programming, particularly the NFL.

In January, NBCUniversal’s Peacock showed an NFL Wild Card game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, marking the first time a playoff game was broadcast exclusively on a streaming service. Amazon‘s Prime Video has already snatched the exclusive rights to an NFL playoff game next season.

Amazon also signed a media rights deal with the NFL in 2021, where it agreed to pay about $1 billion per year to have exclusive Thursday Night Football rights for 10 years, starting with the 2023 season. The deal was the first time a streaming service carried a full package of games exclusively.

Netflix could be looking to branch out into basketball, as well. CNBC reported last year…



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