May 26, 2024

Netflix has acquired the exclusive rights to two NFL Christmas games, the streamer’s most aggressive move yet into live sports.

The company announced Wednesday ahead of its advertiser presentation in New York that it will be the global home of the league’s two Dec. 25 football contests. The games fall on a Wednesday this year.

The teams for the games will be announced with the rest of the NFL schedule Wednesday night.

Netflix said it will carry at least one NFL Christmas game in 2025 and 2026 as well, as part of a three-year agreement with the league.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be the first professional sports league to partner with Netflix to bring these live games to fans around the world,” said Hans Schroeder, NFL executive vice president of media distribution.

The NFL’s current TV partners, who are paying a total of $11 billion in annual rights fees, were asked to bid on the games, according to two people familiar with the talks who were not authorized to comment.

The fact that the NFL could extract two games from the existing NFL packages — and ask its media partners to pay for them again because they will run on a holiday outside of the usual windows of Thursday, Sunday and Monday night — demonstrates the league’s clout. The ratings for NFL games tower over everything else in television.

The Christmas games are the second NFL package to go to a streamer. Amazon Prime has the rights to “Thursday Night Football.”

Earlier this year, Netflix said it would become the home for WWE Raw starting in January 2025 and announced it would host live boxing matches, including one with YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul and Mike Tyson in July. Other live sports events streamed on Netflix include a tennis exhibition match and a golf tournament.

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