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State of the Screens

Audience Reach, Cash, and the Future of Sports on TV

By May 23, 2024No Comments

Four big questions re: Netflix + sports:
1) Is Netflix (finally) moving into live sports?
2) How much is Netflix paying the NFL?
3) Is sports moving to streaming?
4) How much will it cost to watch each NFL game in 2024?

Big question #1: Is Netflix (finally) moving into live sports?

Quick answer: Yes!!!  Netflix will carry both Christmas Day games.

Christmas Day schedule for Netflix:

1) Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (1 p.m. EST)
2) Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans (4:30 p.m. EST)

Why this matters: Two topics have dominated my corner of media nerdom over the past decade:
1) When will ESPN go direct to consumer?
2) When will Netflix become the true replacement for pay-TV and add live sports?

Bottom line: The answer to both of those questions is 2024.

Quote from Michael Nathanson – Analyst @ MoffettNathanson:

“This is 100 percent consistent with what we expected and follows the model developed by basic cable to move up the consumer value chain by adding live sports.”

Big question #2: How much is Netflix paying the NFL?

Quick answer: $75M per game ($150M total)

Zoom out: Netflix spends $75M+ on mediocre movies, which will hardly break the bank.

Flashback: Netflix airing a live fight between Mike Tyson and Jake Paul was a big move into live sports 27 days ago (SOTS #364)…..

Big question #3: Is sports moving to streaming?

Quick answer: Yes.

Two reasons why sports are moving to streaming:
1) Streamers can pay more – Linear TV economics are upside down.  Revenue is flat/declining while the cost of sports rights is exploding.  Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and Apple generate billions in cash flow.
2) Streamers can reach more viewers – Streaming reaches more viewers than linear TV, and sports leagues crave reach. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube will soon have a greater reach than linear TV.

Zoom out: Streamers currently help leagues drive up rights deals (increased demand). Soon, they will use their cash advantage to become the dominant player in sports TV.

Growth between 2020-25, according to Kagan:
1) Cable network revenue – $64.7B$60.7B (↓ 6%)
2) U.S. TV (linear + streaming) sports rights – $21.0B$32.4B (↑ 55%)


Wow: In 1986, Sports Illustrated predicted TV sports were in trouble…


Big question #4: How much will it cost to watch each NFL game in 2024?

Services needed to access all NFL games (monthly cost) according to Huddle Up:
1) YouTube TV ($73)
2) ESPN+ ($11)
3) Peacock ($6)
4) Amazon Prime ($9)
5) Netflix ($7)
6) Total ($106)

Bottom line #1: It will cost $636 to cover these 5 services for 6-months.

Wow: 11 different channels will carry NFL games in 2024, including:

1) ABC
3) ESPN+
4) CBS
5) Paramount+
6) NBC
7) Peacock
8) Fox
9) Netflix
10) Amazon Prime
11) Sunday Ticket

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.