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The sports games that don't stop for Christmas Day

  • Author:Kyrene Zuo
  • Release on:2017-12-23
While most of us will be spending Christmas Day at home with our families, a number of highly trained athletes will be taking to the sporting arena for some of the most highly-anticipated contests of the year.

In the US, both the NFL American football and NBA basketball leagues will be holding regular season fixtures this 25 December, fixture scheduling that may seem unusual to European sports fans, but something that is considered normal in the states.

There have been 19 NFL games on Christmas Day over the past 46 years, 17 of them since 1989, with another two fixtures - Pittsburgh Steelers v Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders v Philadelphia Eagles - taking place this year.

The two games will be shown on national television, the first on NBC and the other on ESPN, offering the teams a rare showing in the national spotlight in a country where live TV matches are usually confined to regional broadcast.

Coast to coast
"The games are a very positive thing for the NFL, and for the teams involved," says Alistair Kirkwood, managing director of the NFL in the UK.

"And - because it is known well in advance if there will be Christmas Day games - there is no controversy about hosting matches on this special holiday day."

He explains that games during the season are held on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays, with the occasional Saturday night game.

"If Christmas Day falls on one of these days then the games will get played, if it doesn't then there are no games as would normally be the case."