TV Upfronts

Netflix Scores Live NFL Games on Christmas, Shocks TV World

The streaming giant signs a three-year deal with the NFL

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Christmas is coming early for Netflix.

Top line

Today, ahead of its upfront presentation at Manhattan’s Pier59 Studios, Netflix announced that it scored live NFL Christmas Day games.

In a blog on its Tudum website, the streaming giant said it’ll be the global home of two NFL games on Dec. 25, also getting at least one holiday game for Christmas Day in 2025 and 2026 as part of a three-season deal.

Between the lines

Netflix’s NFL announcement is set to shake up the TV landscape as the streamer pushes more and more into live sports. The three-year deal also makes it a major player for this year’s TV upfront dollars, where scarcity is everything.

“Last year, we decided to take a big bet on live—tapping into massive fandoms across comedy, reality TV, sports and more,” Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s chief content officer, said in a statement. “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.”

The announcement also builds on Netflix’s recent move into football, launching the series Quarterback in 2023. Meanwhile, its Receiver series is set to premiere this summer, following NFL star pass-catchers, including Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Amon-Ra St. Brown.

“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,” Hans Schroeder, NFL executive vice president of media distribution, said. “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.”

Bottom line

Live sports are largely seen as the last bastion keeping linear TV alive, so Netflix’s announcement is a major blow to traditional TV publishers.

The announcement also continues the NFL push into streaming. Earlier this year, the league announced two streaming-exclusive games coming to Amazon’s Prime Video and to Peacock, respectively.

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