How NFL’s Netflix Christmas Games Came About (and What’s In Store for 2025)

A day after releasing the 2024 schedule, NFL executives discussed how the new Christmas Day Netflix games came about, and what's in store in 2025 and beyond.

The NFL’s Christmas Day games will be available solely on streaming platforms for at least the next two years — with one notable exception. All NFL games will remain available over free TV airwaves in the home markets of the teams involved.

That was the big takeaway from an hour-long media session with the NFL’s top media and scheduling executives Thursday, a day after the league announced a new partnership with Netflix to air at least four Christmas Day games over the next two years.

Insight Into NFL’s New Christmas Day Deal With Netflix

The Kansas City Chiefs will face the Pittsburgh Steelers at 1 p.m. ET on Dec. 25 of this year, followed by the Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans at 4:30.

Both games will be on Netflix as part of a newly created partnership. The broadcast teams for those games have not yet been decided.

In Year 2 of the three-year pact, Netflix will get one Christmas Day game, while Amazon Prime will get the other since Christmas falls on a Thursday in 2025.

The plan for 2026 apparently remains up in the air, beyond the one game Netflix is assured that Friday.

During a call Thursday with NFL reporters from across the country, Hans Schroeder, the NFL executive VP of media distribution, and Mike North, NFL’s vice president of broadcast planning, discussed how the league’s deal with a fourth different streaming service came about.

“One of the things we always do — I’ve been here 23 years — is keep some of our inventory to deploy strategically and make sure we’re thinking about where the future of media is going,” Schroeder said. “Where our fans are spending their time and to be able to evolve and innovate in the course of these longer-term deals.

“… The idea is we want and will continue to be very dedicated and focused on the widest reach for our games,” he added. “… We’re gonna continue to also layer on top of that to be on the screens and the platforms where they are spending their time.

“So whether that’s every Sunday night on Peacock or Paramount+ or CBS or Sunday Ticket with YouTube. We’re also gonna go on to those other big platforms where they’re spending their time.”

As for the matchups themselves? North, who is in charge of creating the NFL schedule, discussed the challenges involved with finding four strong teams that logistically could play three games in 11 days that late in the season.

The Chiefs, Steelers, Ravens, and Texans will all play on Sunday in Week 15, Saturday in Week 16, and then Wednesday in Week 17.

“We had to pick the right four teams,” North said. “You had to find four teams that all played each other that everybody had one home and one away, and these were four teams that we felt like here in May, we could count on to hold down four national television windows in December. There’s no flexible scheduling coming for Saturday afternoon and Wednesday in Week 16 and 17.

“So four teams that all played each other that were all gonna be playoff relevant, that were all gonna be healthy and that could hold down four national windows like that by the time we get there in seven months.”

KEEP READING: 2024 NFL Strength of Schedule Rankings

Once the NFL figured out logistically how to do it, it was up to Commissioner Roger Goodell to sell it. The deal with Netflix — worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 million per game — reportedly didn’t come together until very recently.

“There was a lot of interest,” North said. “It was a competitive bid, and obviously really excited to see where we go with Netflix here.

“But yet another challenge to an already you know, impossible puzzle. We know we’re never gonna make everybody happy.”

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