Netflix will stream NFL games on Christmas Day, extending push into sports

The Chiefs, Steelers, Ravens and Texans will play in a holiday doubleheader. The NFL plans to announce its 2024-25 schedule Wednesday.

Netflix will stream two National Football League games on Christmas day, a major step forward in the streaming service’s experiment with live programming.

The NFL announced Wednesday that the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chief will play the Pittsburgh Steelers at noon central time, followed by the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans at 3:30 p.m.

The agreement marks the first time Netflix has licensed the rights to one of the world’s premiere sports competitions and the first time it would show live football, the most popular sport in the U.S. The company will pay less than $150 million per game, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the terms are private. The NFL plans to announce the rest of its 2024-25 schedule on Wednesday.


Netflix has been experimenting with live programming for the past year as a way to broaden the entertainment options for its customers and to create appealing properties for advertisers. Sports is the most valuable live programming in the world.

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Executives at Netflix like the idea of a Christmas Day event that could bring millions of viewers to the service all at once. No live event is a bigger draw for viewers or advertisers in the U.S. than the NFL, which accounts for the majority of the most-watched live TV broadcasts in the country every year.


Boomer Esiason, who hosts a morning sports radio program on WFAN in New York, and John Ourand at Puck previously reported on some aspects of the deal.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company has dabbled in live sports before. It plans to carry a boxing match between former champ Mike Tyson and YouTube star Jake Paul in July. In January, the company acquired the exclusive rights to Raw as well as other programming from World Wrestling Entertainment, marking the service’s biggest move to date into live events.

Boosting ad sales is a key part of the company’s efforts to sustain the double-digit revenue growth that analysts expect through 2026. Netflix said earlier this year that more than 23 million people use its advertising-supported offering around the world.


On a conference call with investors in April, co-Chief Executive Officer Greg Peters described the ad business as “growing quite quickly” from a relatively small base. In the U.S., the company offers a $6.99-a-month subscription that carries ads.

“It takes a while to grow that into the point where it’s material,” Peters said. “So we look forward to that increasing in ‘25 and then increasing further ‘26 and beyond.”

Because live sporting events have advertising breaks built into the broadcast, sports allow Netflix to show advertising to all of its users in a given market — not just the those on a cheaper, advertising-supported plan.

The NFL has an existing relationship with Netflix, which produced the series Quarterback that debuted last July. The sequel, called Receiver, will release in July. The league has been carving up its rights to create additional game packages for partners, streaming services in particular.

In March, the league announced two other streaming exclusives. Comcast Corp.’s Peacock service will carry a Philadelphia Eagles game in Week 1 of the season from Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sept. 6. The opponent hasn’t been named. It also awarded a wildcard playoff game to Inc.’s Prime Video, which already shows Thursday Night Football.

- Lucas Shaw for Bloomberg

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