Netflix Lands NFL Christmas Day Games, But Fans Aren’t Thrilled About Adding Another Subscription Service To Watch Football

Mike Tomlin Steelers

Well done here by Netflix to secure the rights to this year’s NFL Christmas Day games. I still don’t know how they manage to keep their whole operation afloat given how far in the red they are. Investing gazillions of dollars in original content and acquiring splashy preexisting IPs has certainly added up. Although Netflix’s profits have spiked after their password sharing crackdown, there’s still conservatively well over $10 billion in debt.

But hey, picking up a cash cow like the NFL is about the best move they could’ve made as far as dipping their toes into the sports media market.

It really is incredible how much the NFL is king these days. The NBA used to own Christmas Day. Only in 2022 did the NFL decide to make the holiday a showcase for themselves by scheduling three games. Up until then, Christmas Day games in pro football were just by happenstance more or less. Now? They’re stepping on the throats of the NBA, and there’s nothing Roger Goodell’s rival commish Adam Silver can do about it.

Things get a little weird this particular year when it comes to scheduling logistics, as the holiday happens to fall on a Wednesday. It’ll probably require some shuffling around of bye weeks and what not. When the NFL forces its players to play on suboptimal rest, it really irks me. Adding at least one extra bye week during the regular season — even before it likely expands to 18 games — is such a no-brainer solution to increase the chances that the league’s biggest stars stay healthy for the whole year and through the playoffs.

OK mini-rant about player safety over. The meat of this Christmas Day/Netflix issue is the fan experience, and how many are dismayed by the fact that they’ll have to shell out for another streaming service in order to see every game this coming season and beyond.

Odds are about -10000 that Netflix will introduce a price hike right leading into November or December in anticipation of a subscription surge just so that folks can enjoy football during the holidays. On the other hand, Netflix already has the largest streaming subscription base in the world. Most people already have it. Not like it’s some obscure platform. Some of the outraged feels a little phony to me.

Plus, this is where things are headed. Right? I won’t be surprised if everything is streaming-based in a handful of years or so. Can’t you see the ManningCast getting its own hub at one of the major streamers? Disney+, Hulu and Max just launched a bundle subscription package. Netflix, Apple TV+ and Peacock are aiming to follow suit. If you can just get in on those two bundles going forward, it’s a win for everyone. As far as the NFL is concerned, the only hurdle for mass viewership is NFL Sunday Ticket, which resides on YouTube TV nowadays.

The NFL and Netflix are the tip of the spear when it comes to forward-thinking paradigms about streaming and entertainment consumption. Whatever blowback there is in the near future about this Christmas Day partnership will blow over in short order. Because like, come on, everyone is going to subscribe to Netflix — if only to watch the NFL on Christmas.

Another point of proof about why the NFL is king: Many of us will be on the edge of our seats tonight for the schedule release — despite some games already being revealed — waiting to find out which teams will play this Christmas Day.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock