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Netflix Streaming NFL Games Adds to the Complicated Sports Streaming Landscape

At CEDIA Expo 2023, CE Pro attended a panel on the custom home integrator’s opportunity in the sports streaming landscape. The gist of the panel was that the sports streaming landscape is extremely fragmented, with countless services offering access to certain sports, leagues and games.

Integrators can serve as curators, giving their sports fan customers a sports watching experience designed to give them the games they want without having to search through different streaming apps and services.

Well, that fragmentation is only increasing as Netflix has announced that it is showing two NFL games on Christmas Day. Going forward, the streaming giant will be streaming at least one holiday game each year as part of a three-season deal.

The NFL becomes the first professional sports league to partner with Netflix, which is surprising given Netflix’s status as the streaming leader and many of its competitors already showing live sports.

However, this isn’t Netflix’s first deal with the NFL, as the streaming service was home to the 2023 series Quarterback profiling a handful of signal callers in the league. This summer, the target of those quarterbacks will be profiled in a new series, Receiver.

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“Last year, we decided to take a big bet on live — tapping into massive fandoms across comedy, reality TV, sports, and more,” says Netflix Chief Content Officer, Bela Bajaria. “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.”

There are now countless ways to watch an NFL game. Fans can of course watch them on cable TV, NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV, Paramount+, Peacock, Amazon Prime for Thursday night games, ESPN+ for Monday night games, among several other options. It should come as no surprise then that more people have taken to streaming sports games, versus watching them in live broadcast networks.

Let’s also not forget Hard Knocks, the Max series that follows teams throughout the preseason, or the massive partnership between ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros to launch a sports streaming service that pulls from all their catalogs.

During last year’s CEDIA Expo panel on the topic, the panelists cited a recent Deloitte survey in which half of the respondents said they missed a game they wanted to see because they couldn’t find where it was being streamed.

If more streaming services begin to show live sports, that number will only increase. Integrators should get a handle on this landscape for their customers that are avid sports fans.

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