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Netflix-NFL deal tests fans’ subscription fatigue. How costly could streaming every game get?



Netflix has joined the NFL’s lineup of TV partners, making its much-anticipated move into the world of live-sports streaming. In an announcement made today, the league revealed that Netflix will stream two Christmas Day games starting this year. 

Initially, the NFL said that no games would be scheduled for December 25, but it has now confirmed a doubleheader for Christmas Day, which falls midweek. Wednesday games are a rarity in the NFL, with the last instance occurring to avoid conflict with President Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

Which teams will take the field on Christmas Day remains undisclosed, but the NFL will announce its full 2024 schedule—including Yuletide matchups—later this evening.

Groundbreaking deal 

“This marks a big bet on live content for us, tapping into massive fandoms across comedy, reality TV, sports, and more,” said Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s chief content officer, 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.”

Hans Schroeder, NFL executive vice president of media distribution, also expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership. “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,” he said in a statement.

The landmark deal between the NFL and Netflix marks the streaming giant’s most significant venture into live streaming and sports content to date. Netflix has been testing the waters with live content, previously striking deals with the WWE and hosting live events such as the recent comedy roast of NFL legend Tom Brady.

The partnership between the NFL and Netflix is slated to span three years, with Netflix committed to streaming “at least one holiday game each year.” Financial details were not disclosed by either party.

Costs keep piling up for NFL fans

With Netflix now in the mix, the 2024 NFL season will enjoy coverage across a spectrum of networks and streaming platforms. To catch all the action, fans will need access to a range of traditional broadcast and cable TV channels including CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, ABC, and the NFL Network, as well as streaming services like Peacock, ESPN+, Netflix, and Amazon’s Prime Video.

Similar to games streamed on other platforms like Peacock, ESPN Plus, and Prime Video, the NFL assures fans that Netflix’s Christmas games will also be broadcast live on local networks in the playing teams’ markets and will be available for streaming on mobile devices through the league’s NFL+ service. 

Still, with so many broadcasting players already on board, and now adding Netflix to the mix, accessing every 2024 NFL regular season game could set football fans back approximately $850, according to one estimate from SportsNaut.

As monthly subscription fees for cable and streaming platforms keep climbing, and with the NFL considering auctioning off certain games in future seasons, it’s conceivable that the price tag for watching NFL games on TV could soar to $1,000 or even higher.

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