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Netflix’s NFL Christmas Miracle

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Based on what I’m hearing, Netflix’s Christmas deal would not herald a headlong thrust into live sports, but instead be a continuation of its current dabbling strategy. Photo: Winslow Townson/Getty Images
John Ourand
May 9, 2024

Weeks ago, TV network executives circled today’s date on their calendars and have since waited with bated breath in the hopes that the NFL would, at long last, release its 2024-25 schedule. But earlier this week, the league enigmatically delayed its schedule release to May 15 without offering a reason. Now, of course, we know why: The league’s top executives have been in the middle of a high-stakes negotiation with Netflix over its planned Christmas Day games. 

And now it looks like Netflix will wind up carrying the two NFL games scheduled for December 25, per a bevy of sources. Yes, yes, yes, this could all fall apart and all the usual caveats—nothing has been signed yet, and the two sides still have to clear some hurdles before any deal is announced. But Netflix’s emergence as a bidder—and likely winner—is one of the main reasons behind the schedule delay. (For the record, Boomer Esiason was the first one to talk about Netflix’s Christmas plans, on his radio show yesterday morning.)