American football’s NFL has confirmed an exclusive deal with content streaming giant Netflix to air Christmas Day games for the next three seasons.

The agreement will begin with the upcoming 2024 campaign when Netflix will show two games – Kansas City Chiefs vs Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens vs Houston Texans.

In 2025 and 2026, the service will stream at least one holiday game each year.

The Netflix Christmas Day games will additionally air on linear TV in the competing teams' cities and be available on US mobile devices through NFL+.

Last year's three Christmas games ranked among the top 25 most viewed TV broadcasts of 2023 in the US, with the game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Chiefs drawing the highest Christmas Day viewership since 1988. The games were covered by the CBS, Fox, and ABC networks last season.

However, in March it was reported that the league would be changing its approach to domestic coverage of games on that holiday and would be putting the rights for these fixtures specifically up for tender.

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Netflix has been steadily increasing its live sports output in recent years and will now be showing live NFL action for the first time.

Netflix aired the Quarterback documentary series – focusing on three NFL players in that position – in 2023, and will showcase a similar series, Receiver, later this year.

Netflix joins the NFL’s domestic media rights partner line-up, comprising ESPN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube TV.
Hans Schroeder, NFL executive vice president of media distribution, said: “We couldn't be more excited to be the first professional sports league to partner with Netflix to bring live games to fans around the world.

“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."

In late March, the NFL announced two games during the 2024 season will be broadcast exclusively on streaming services domestically.

The first will take place in the opening week of the season – the September 6 NFL International Series fixture between the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

With the Eagles as the designated home team, the game will be the first NFL fixture ever staged in Brazil and the first to be held on the Friday night of the season’s opening weekend since 1970. The fixture will be broadcast exclusively by Peacock, the OTT streaming service owned by media giant NBCUniversal.

The second game to be added to the slate of streaming-only broadcasts is an as-yet undecided NFL playoff WildCard round game which will be shown on the Prime Video service owned by Amazon.

Netflix has dipped its toe into live sports in recent months and will be showing the bout between social media star Jake Paul and boxing legend Mike Tyson on July 20.

The fight will be the third live sports event created by the platform, following the Netflix Cup golf competition and Netflix Slam tennis competition.

Bela Bajaria, Netflix chief content officer, has now said: “Last year, we decided to take a big bet on live — tapping into massive fandoms across comedy, reality TV, sports and more.

“There are no live annual events, sports or otherwise, that compare with the audiences NFL football attracts."

Netflix will further expand its NFL content after teaming up with production firm Skydance Sports and NFL Films for an upcoming documentary series focusing on the Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones.

The 10-episode series will explore the franchise through “never-before-seen footage” and interviews with Jones, former players, and other leading sports figures.

The series will be produced by Skydance Sports in association with NFL Films.

Skydance, as well as the Cowboys series, will also be working alongside HBO and NFL Films on a show entitled 'Hard Knocks: Offseason with the New York Giants', it was announced yesterday.

The five-part series will air initially in July across HBO and the Max streaming service, both owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. It will focus on the Giants' off-season preparations ahead of the 2024 NFL campaign.

Meanwhile, the NFL released its full regular season schedule yesterday (May 15) and also unveiled the teams competing in the 2024 International Series.

In addition to the inaugural game in Brazil, the league will again stage three matches in London with the Minnesota Vikings vs New York Jets kicking things off on October 6 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

This will be followed by the Chicago Bears vs Jacksonville Jaguars at the same venue on October 13. The Jaguars will then face the New England Patriots at Wembley on October 20.

The Jaguars will play back-to-back games in the UK for the second time, marking the team’s 12th and 13th regular season games in London.

Elsewhere, the Carolina Panthers will play the New York Giants in Munich at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena on November 10.