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Netflix is ​​in the running for NFL Christmas games

Netflix is ​​in the running for NFL Christmas games

Christmas may come early for Netflix.

The NFL is considering a bid from the streaming giant to hold two football games on December 25, which falls on a Wednesday this year. The games will be the first major professional league sporting events to be carried by the streaming giant.

An NFL representative had no comment. But a person familiar with the discussions said the league is still considering the offer.

One consideration is whether showing the games on a streaming device rather than broadcast television will limit exposure to fans.

Netflix has about 83 million subscribers in the United States and Canada. The number of subscribers who use the lower-priced ad-supported tier that carries commercials represents a small portion of this total.

One of the reasons Netflix wants to acquire the NFL is that it could help build its advertising business. Netflix has a presentation to advertisers scheduled to be held in New York next week.

The NFL's existing television partners, which pay 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 can extract two games from existing NFL packages — and ask its media partners to pay for them again because they will be played on a holiday outside the usual Thursday, Sunday and Monday night windows — is indicative of the league's clout. Ratings for NFL games outpace everything else on TV.

Puck was the first to report that Netflix was included in the process.

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Christmas Day has long been the sports arena of the NBA, which has a slate of games that air on ABC. But the NFL has been happy enough with the ratings performance of Christmas Day games in recent years to make them part of its schedule for the 2024-25 season.

Over time, Netflix has increasingly invested in sports-related content.

Earlier this year, Netflix said it would become the home of WWE Raw starting in January 2025 and announced it would host live boxing matches, including a bout with YouTubers and professional boxers Jake Paul and Mike Tyson in July. Other live sporting events streamed on Netflix include a tennis exhibition match and a golf tournament.

“We think these kind of eventful cultural moments, like Jake Paul and Mike Tyson fighting, are just the kind of television that we want to be a part of winning those moments with our members as well,” said Ted Sarandos, partner at Netflix. – CEO, in last month's earnings presentation.

Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters said these types of cultural events are also relevant to the advertisers the company seeks to prosecute.

“So it's an opportunity for us to expand our advertising offerings and give those brands access to these kind of culture-defining moments,” Peters said in an earnings presentation in April.

In addition to hosting live events, Netflix has also developed a following for its sports documentaries.

Northstar aims to “grow engagement, revenue and profits,” Sarandos said in an earnings presentation.

“So, when those opportunities come, we can come in and do that, which is what we feel we've done in our deal with WWE, if we can replicate those dynamics in other things, including sports, we'll definitely look at it,” Sarandos said.

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“Raw” is the No. 1 show on USA Network, attracting 17.5 million unique viewers throughout the year, WWE and Netflix said.

The deal has an initial term of 10 years for a total rights fee of more than $5 billion, with an option for Netflix to extend the agreement, according to a filing by TKO, WWE's holding company, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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