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The NFL-Netflix Broken Hearts Club

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The sports media business, like the world it covers, is clubby and insular, and the NFL’s decision to bring in a new partner rather than deal with an existing one felt like a slight. Photo: Chris Unger/Getty Images
John Ourand
May 16, 2024

Sports media executives weren’t exactly shocked when the NFL pulled its two Christmas games out of existing packages and endeavored to sell them together to the highest bidder. After all, they’d known for months that this was the plan, and many existing league partners had even considered tendering bids. 

But these guys became more than a little irritated when they found out the league was engaging with Netflix. The sports media business, like the world it covers, is clubby and insular. And the NFL’s decision to bring in a new partner rather than deal with an existing one—even another well-capitalized behemoth like Amazon or YouTube TV—felt like a slight.