Connect with us


Is the NFL’s deal with Netflix bad news for sports entertainment?



Netflix announced Wednesday that it will be hosting two live NFL games on Christmas.

The streamer’s new deal with the NFL also involves the rights to holiday games in 2025 and 2026.

“Last year, we decided to take a big bet on live — tapping into massive fandoms across comedy, reality TV, sports, and more,” said Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s chief content officer, in a statement. “There are no live annual events, sports or otherwise, that compare with the audiences NFL football attracts. We’re so excited that the NFL’s Christmas Day games will be only on Netflix.”

The new Netflix deal is the latest in a string of deals the league has made with streaming services in an effort to increase its audience, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

NFL officials have partnered with companies like Amazon Prime Video for Thursday Night Football and YouTube for Sunday Ticket, as well as with Peacock.

Thanks to the new deal, football fans have to subscribe to yet another streaming service to have access to all games.

What does the NFL-Netflix deal mean for the future of streaming sports?

According to an interview on NFL Network, Mike North, NFL’s vice president of broadcast programming, has revealed that hosting Thursday Night Football on Amazon “performed really well, comparable to broadcast networks.”

In other words, partnering with streaming services seems to be working out well for the league.

Regarding the Netflix deal, Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s executive vice president of media distribution, said in a statement, “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.”

He continued, “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.”

Streaming television became popular due to its convenience, but as previously reported by the Deseret News, the rise of sports on streaming services has led to frustration among fans, who have to search through multiple platforms in order to watch games. It can become confusing to manage them all.

But the NFL continues to push forward with expanding to other streaming services as evidenced by the Netflix deal.

Is streaming ruining sports?

According to a 2022 article by The Atlantic, streaming has lost some of the luster it once held, in part because of sports-related developments.

When sporting events appeared exclusively on traditional TV stations, cable companies at least provided bundles that had all the necessary channels. As it stands now, one must maintain both cable and streaming services, piling on more charges and more headaches, the article said.

“Everybody thought (streaming) is what the future would be,” Patrick Crakes, a former Fox Sports vice president, told The Atlantic. “Cheap, everything choice. Of course, it’s not that, because you can’t get all the content in one place for an effective price. And so it’s put out all over the place, and it’s fractionalized, and it’s expensive.”

Continue Reading