NFL Rumors: 2024 Christmas Games’ TV Rights to Be Auctioned; Bidding to Start at $50M

Julia StumbaughMarch 28, 2024

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 11: A detail view of the NFL shield logo painted on the field before Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

Ryan Kang/Getty Images

The NFL plans to auction the media rights to two Christmas Day games, with bids expected to start at about $50 million, according to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports.

The bidding will be open to all league media partners including CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN-ABC, and Amazon Prime, McCarthy reported.

The NFL announced earlier this week that the league would show a doubleheader on Wednesday, December 25, despite the holiday’s midweek placement.

The league made the decision after the three Christmas 2023 games broadcasted on CBS, Fox and ESPN drew historic viewership numbers, Eric Fisher and David Rumsey reported for Front Office Sports.

The 2024 Christmas games are “more likely” to be shown on network television than than via streaming, McCarthy noted.

The Wednesday games mark the fifth consecutive year the NFL has broadcasted games on Christmas Day, according to ESPN.

The NFL also sold an individual holiday game last season, when Amazon paid $100 million for the exclusive streaming rights to the first NFL Black Friday game, per Alexandra Canal of Yahoo Finance.

The Nov. 24 streaming event sold out its ad inventory, an NFL advertising executive told Variety‘s Brian Steinberg, even though advertisers were reportedly charged $880,000 for a 30-second ad. That’s more than twice the price of a Thursday Night Football advertisement, according to Parker Herren and Garett Sloane of AdAge.

In addition to income for the league and its partner networks, the Christmas Day games also present the NFL with an opportunity to further claim market dominance over the NBA.

All three Christmas 2023 games drew in at least 27 million viewers, while five competing NBA games averaged fewer than three million each, Fisher and Rumsey reported.

Broadcaster Colin Cowherd said earlier this week on The Colin Cowherd Podcast that he believes the NFL’s Christmas broadcast is part of the league’s attempt to “squeeze” the NBA.

“I think the NFL sees weakness,” Cowherd said (h/t Awful Announcing’s Brendon Kleen. “The gloves are off. It feels like to me, the NFL has said ‘We’re going to squeeze you,’ and I do believe that is a tipping point. That Christmas Day mattered a lot to the NBA, and those NFL games put a blanket over it.”

Herd w/Colin Cowherd @TheHerd

“Will you watch the games? Yes you will.”

@ColinCowherd on NFL announcing football will be played on Christmas

The four teams that will play on Christmas Day have not yet been determined.

Participants will be drawn from the teams slated to place on Saturday, Dec. 21 in order to give players enough time to rest between games, according to ESPN. The full NFL schedule is likely to be released in early May.

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