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Butler prof ‘not surprised’ at Netflix interception of Christmas NFL games

Butler professor on NFL streaming deals

Lee Farquahr joins Daybreak to discuss NFL broadcast & streaming rights

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As NFL games scatter more widely across the television landscape, fans will have to be more nimble -and possibly dig deeper into their wallets- to watch all the action. The moves are no surprise, though, according to one local expert.

“The NFL has definitely moved in that direction,” Butler University’s Lee Farquahr said. He is an associate professor of journalism and sports media. “To some extent, the NFL is moving where the fans are.”

Farquahr says the move of Christmas Day games in the 2024, 2025, and 2026 season to Netflix directly reflects viewing trends, with more people shifting away from traditional television service to stream their shows instead.

‘We’ve seen the cable-cutting rates over the last decade. A little less than half of American households still have cable or satellite,” Farquahr explained during his appearance on WISH-TV’s Daybreak. He also pointed to numbers suggesting many cable holdouts may not keep the service much longer. “A third of those people are saying they’re ready to cut the cable as well.”

The Netflix deal adds to a series of other media-rights deals that direct viewers away from the traditional television sources and toward pay-per-channel streaming instead. Amazon has secured a playoff game for the coming season, and the ‘Sunday Ticket’ package is now on multi-channel streamer YouTube TV instead of its longtime home of DirecTV.

Asked about the dwindling number of games on free television, Farquahr indicates the league is banking on the belief that its most ardent fans are already comfortable with the new direction and the dollars they require, even if they don’t currently have every channel.

“The vast majority also already have multiple streaming services. So they might not have something like Peacock, or they might not all have Disney Plus, but Amazon has certainly got loads of subscribers already.”