Netflix to stream NFL games on Christmas Day from this year

May 16, 2024 6:16 am

[Source: Reuters]

Netflix said it would stream two National Football League games on Christmas Day this year, doubling down on efforts to add more live programming on its streaming service.

It will also stream at least one game on Christmas Day in 2025 and 2026 as part of the exclusive three-season agreement.

The deal marks the first time Netflix (NFLX.O), opens new tab has licensed the rights to one of the world’s biggest sports leagues and also the first time it would show live football.

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Netflix content chief Bela Bajaria said on Wednesday “there are no live annual events, sports or otherwise, that compare with the audiences NFL football attracts.”

The company did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Bloomberg News, which first reported on the negotiations, said Netflix will pay less than $150 million per game.

The NFL is the most-watched sports league in the U.S. This year’s Super Bowl game between Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers drew a record 123.7 million U.S. viewers.

“Netflix is no longer just experimenting with sports, they’re buying in,” said Ross Benes, senior analyst at Emarketer.

The streaming pioneer has turned to live events and sports in recent months to retain users and build out its advertising business as growth saturates in top market U.S.

Netflix signed a more than $5 billion rights deal in January to be the exclusive home of World Wrestling Entertainment’s RAW and live-streamed a tennis face-off between Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz in March.

Still, the NFL deal marks a new area for the company that just last year suggested it did not plan to compete for sports rights due to the hefty investments they require.

Its rivals have also pounced on rights to big sports leagues in recent years. Amazon Prime (AMZN.O), opens new tab holds rights to Thursday Night Football and Apple TV+ (AAPL.O), opens new tab hosts Friday Night Baseball and Major League Soccer.

“2024 will be looked at as the year the sports pendulum began to favor streaming,” Benes said.