NFL Games in 2024 Will Be Broadcast Across Ten Networks and Platforms, But Viewers Keep Watching

For the 2024 NFL season, games will be broadcast and streamed across ten different networks and platforms. That’s great for the NFL’s revenue, but the fragmented distribution is bad for fans. The NFL can get away with this since, in 2023, NFL programming accounted for 93 of the 100 highest-rated shows on TV. Adding two games on Netflix this year allows the NFL to grow its audience, with the Netflix deal being the first that allows for global distribution with no blackout restrictions. Here’s a breakdown of how many games are on each platform:

  • Amazon Prime Video: 16 games (all streaming exclusive)
  • Peacock: 1 game (streaming exclusive)
  • ESPN+: 1 game (streaming exclusive)
  • Netflix: 2 games (streaming exclusive)
  • NFL Network: 4 games (all games also on NFL+)
  • NBC: 17 games (all games are also on Peacock)
  • FOX: At least 100 games (week 18 schedule still TBD, all games streaming via FOX Sports)
  • CBS: At least 100 games (week 18 schedule still TBD, all games streaming via Paramount+)
  • ESPN/ABC: 21 games (all games streaming via ESPN+ or ABC)
  • * One could suggest that YouTube TV could also be added to the list since that deal is direct with the NFL, whereas games on Fubo and Hulu+ Live TV are deals that vMVPDs do with the broadcast networks.
  • * On the B2B side, Everpass has a deal with the NFL for viewing in bars and restaurants
  • * Also on the B2B side, Reach TV has a deal with the NFL for viewing in airports

In a CNBC interview, Brian Rolapp, NFL’s chief media and business officer, was asked how he addresses concerns that the market is too fragmented and that it’s too hard to find games. As expected, he said he “doesn’t think it’s fragmenting too much” for the NFL since “every game we have is on broadcast television in the local markets.” While this is technically accurate, it requires an antenna to get an Over-The-Air (OTA) signal, and you can’t pause or rewind an OTA signal without paying for a DVR. Suggesting there is no fragmentation due to OTA availability is a poor argument. Fans have to go out and buy additional equipment to get the broadcast, and watching an NFL game via OTA is not the same experience as viewing the game via a cable or satellite network.

Unless viewership declines or stays flat over the next year or two, the NFL can continue to put revenue over the fan experience. As frustrated as fans are with today’s sports viewing experience, the NFL has no incentive to change its fragmented distribution strategy as long as fans continue to watch games, no matter how complex the NFL makes it.