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Netflix to broadcast NFL games in landmark three-year deal

Netflix Inc. has struck a significant deal with the National Football League (NFL) in the United States to broadcast live football games, marking the streaming giant’s bold foray into live sports.

As part of the three-year agreement, Netflix will air two NFL games on Christmas Day, starting this year, with plans to host at least one game on the same holiday in both 2025 and 2026. This partnership represents Netflix’s first venture into broadcasting live football, the most popular sport in the United States, according to Bloomberg news

Financial details of the deal remain private, but the arrangement indicates Netflix will pay approximately $150 million for the rights to broadcast the two games this year. The financial terms are expected to be similar if the company secures two games in the following year.

The deal aligns with Netflix’s broader strategy to diversify its content offerings and enhance appeal to advertisers. Live sports, particularly NFL games, represent highly valuable programming that can draw substantial viewer numbers.

Executives at Netflix are particularly enthusiastic about the potential of a Christmas Day event to attract millions of viewers simultaneously, creating a lucrative opportunity for advertisers.

Netflix has been exploring live programming over the past year, aiming to broaden its entertainment options and create properties that appeal to advertisers.

The company has previously dabbled in live sports, including plans to broadcast a boxing match between former champion Mike Tyson and YouTube star Jake Paul in July.

Earlier this year, Netflix acquired exclusive rights to Raw and other programming from World Wrestling Entertainment, marking a significant move into live events.

Boosting advertising sales is a crucial component of Netflix’s strategy to sustain its projected double-digit revenue growth through 2026.

The company reported that more than 23 million people globally use its advertising-supported subscription service. Co-Chief Executive Officer Greg Peters noted on a conference call with investors in April 2024 that the ad business is “growing quite quickly” from a relatively small base and is expected to increase significantly in 2025 and beyond.

Live sports broadcasts, which include built-in commercial breaks, will allow Netflix to show advertisements to all users in a given market, not just those on cheaper, ad-supported plans. This is a strategic move to enhance the company’s advertising revenue stream

The NFL already has a relationship with Netflix, having collaborated on the series “Quarterback,” which debuted in July 2023, with a sequel titled “Receiver” set for release in July 2024. The league has been strategically carving up its rights to create additional game packages for streaming partners.

In March, the NFL announced other streaming exclusives, including a deal with Comcast Corp.’s Peacock service and Inc.’s Prime Video, which further highlights the growing trend of live sports streaming.