NFL planning unprecedented Thanksgiving-style tripleheader for Christmas next season

·2-min read

The NFL is about to give Christmas Day the Thanksgiving treatment.

With the league due to release its schedule for the 2022-23 season next month, NFL vice president of broadcasting Mike North appeared on the "SalSports....and Stuff" podcast this week to discuss the upcoming slate of games.

North revealed that with Christmas scheduled to fall on a Sunday in 2022, the league is going to play an unprecedented triple-header of games on the holiday typically earmarked for basketball on the sports calendar:

"We will play on Saturday night on the NFL Network on Christmas Eve and then when we get to Sunday, Christmas Day, we'll have a tripleheader. We'll play one game on CBS in the afternoon, one game on Fox in the afternoon and our regular Sunday night game on NBC.

"Christmas, when it falls on an NFL game day, we've had a lot of success there, with all due respect to our friends at the NBA. When we can play football on Christmas, it has proven to be something that our fans are interested in. We had Minnesota-New Orleans a couple of years ago. That game did 20 million viewers. We had Cleveland-Green Bay, that game did 30 million viewers. It was followed by Indy-Arizona on the NFL Network, that one performed well. Our fans are telling us — we know they watch on Thanksgiving, they're happy to watch on Christmas too."

Traditionally, when Christmas falls on a Sunday, the NFL moves all of its games to Saturday except for one or two. As you can see from this helpful list, the league has never scheduled more than two games for Christmas, but according to North, the ratings of those games have been strong enough that it's giving a tripleheader a shot.

That is obviously not something NBA commissioner Adam Silver will want to hear. The NBA has long planted its flag on Christmas as the marquee day of its regular season, with high-profile matchups and usually strong ratings. The NFL playing three consecutive games the same day would obviously take a bit out of those numbers.

The NBA won't be out of the woods after this season either, as North said he could "imagine" the NFL playing a tripleheader for Christmas in 2023, which falls on a Monday. At the very least, the NBA will be going up against a doubleheader.

2024, though, should be a different story:

"I'm not sure we're going to play Wednesday."

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 20: A Cleveland Browns fan dressed as Santa Clause in the stands during the first quarter of the National Football League game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns on December 20, 2021, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Christmas is becoming a crowded day when it comes to sports. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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