Sports on streaming platforms are nothing new, but it’s become a pervasive inconvenience for fans over the past few years.

Leagues and conferences chop up their sports rights in such a way that forces you to often pay a ransom to watch your favorite sport, league, or team. Gone are the days of just turning on your television with your game about to start and finding what channel your game is on. Want to watch your game? You’ll need a connected TV, a downloaded app, and an account.

We cover these nuisances in terms of the deals that create them, the viewership of these games that have moved to streaming, their broadcast quality, and how fans, business owners, and media people react to these increasingly frequent streaming inconveniences. But they are not created equal and thus we are creating the Awful Announcing Sports Streaming Outrage Meter, in an effort to quantify just how cumbersome these nuisances are properly.

Our debut installment will go over Fubo’s UEFA Euro 2024 deal with Fox Sports. We will grade each streaming nuisance in four categories that each have a scale of 1-25, (1 being not that annoying/inconvenient/and frustrating, 25 being extremely annoying/inconvenient/and frustrating). The most egregious score possible would be 100 which would be four 25 scores, spanning these four categories. For grading consistency, 2-3 AA staffers will submit their own grades which will be averaged out for one score. Below are the four categories.

Event Broadcast History/Scale of Annoyance

How accessible was the event in question before this? How many people are affected by this? Is it an event usually watched by millions who now have to sign up for a new service that nobody has versus an event that few people watch that is now on a service that a lot of people have?

What is the Ransom?

What is the cost and commitment of someone who pays the ransom to watch this event? Is it a free trial for one month or is this a year-long annual subscription you can’t get out of that is $100?

Broadcast Quality

What is the quality of what you are specifically paying for? Is it better than before on the streaming service or has it lost things like production quality, sideline reporters, and studio shows? Is the picture quality good and streaming feed consistent? 

ROI

How many events and hours do you get by subscribing to this service? Is it a whole season or just one game?  Will you use this service to watch other sports, movies, and shows that are popular?

So with all that, let’s jump into the UEFA Euro 2024 on the Fubo edition.

How We Got Here:

Fox won the rights (previously held by ESPN) back in the fall of 2021. This current deal includes the UEFA Euro Championship and Nations League rights through 2028. Fox’s deal was surprising at the time as they beat out CBS, NBC, and ESPN despite not having a streaming service.

As John Ourand wrote back in 2021:

“CBS, ESPN and NBC were involved in the negotiations at one point or another. These media companies have been active in picking up soccer rights, part of a strategy by each to bolster the direct-to-consumer component for their respective streaming services: Paramount+, ESPN+ and Peacock.”

It was curious at the time Fox could outbid those categories without a streaming service to stash some games on, which in turn could increase the amount of their bid for sports rights due to the ability to gain new long-term subscribers. That’s where Fubo came in, taking a chunk of Fox’s Euro rights in a sublicense deal. In this tournament, they have five games which will be the case in 2028 as well, along with other UEFA games.

Essentially Fox owns the rights but immediately rented a chunk of them to Fubo who presumably paid a significant portion of the total rights deal. Fox had streaming money to buy these rights but was spared the cost and headache of actually starting a streaming service (almost all of which to date have lost billions of dollars).

So with that history let’s look at how much of a pain in the ass this is for fans.

Event Broadcast History/Scale of Annoyance

Previous European Championships were available on ESPN/ABC in 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020. All games were accessible both on linear television and streaming. In the last Euro Championship, the bulk of games were on ESPN with select games on ABC, and six games were on ESPN2 (Fubo’s package is five games, so this is essentially the ESPN2 slate of games going to Fubo.)

For Euro 2024, Fox has shuffled five games to Fubo, a streaming service that can be considered a more niche and lesser distributed competitor to YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and DirecTV Stream. Put on its Fubo Sports channel, this is not widely accessible to a mass audience (as of last month, Fubo only had 1.5 million customers).

To go from ESPN2 which is in ~65 million households, to a Fubo-exclusive channel that only ~1.5 million have access is one of the steepest drops in accessibility you can have. Even if it’s just five games and Euro Ratings are not massive (last year’s group play round averaged 870K per game per Sports Media Watch), this is a nuisance that cumulatively is causing low seven-figure audiences to either not watch or ponder signing up for Fubo. Additionally, it’s very unlikely fans hoping to watch this game at a bar or restaurant will have this option at all.

This is a major annoyance. We’ll give it a score of 13 out of 25 only because previous ratings indicate this isn’t a pain felt by tons of people but the sheer drop-off of how many people can watch this game is one of the worst you can have.

What is the Ransom?

There is a free seven-day trial, but the Group Stage for the Euros lasts two weeks. The price for Fubo just for its basic “Pro” tier is $79.99/month and then add 10 dollars more for its “Elite” tier, and another 20 more for “Premier”. Unlike other streaming options that either offer a longer trial or are $6-$15 dollars a month, this is a pricey ask and one that if you forget to unsubscribe after the tournament, could cause some people to spend hundreds of dollars for a service they might only use for a few games.

This is basically PPV economics but it can get worse with auto renewals! Hate to do it, but this is a full 25 out of 25.

Broadcast Quality

The presentation of Euro 2024 on the Fubo Sports channel is something to be desired.  The opening game had no scorebug or graphics. It’s hard to watch soccer without knowing the score or how much time is on the clock! 

There is also no studio show for pregame, halftime, and postgame. Pregame and postgame aren’t major, but halftime is what gives you perspective on what you just watched and sets the scene for the 2nd half. Instead, Fubo relies on the world feed for taped highlights. Maybe that’s your jam, but we do like halftime perspectives, Alexi Lalas notwithstanding. These broadcasts for such a major event just have not been what they should be and they have been previously with ESPN, which was celebrated for their broadcast quality of both the Euros and the World Cup.  We’ll go with a 22 out of 25 here as at least the feed has been consistent and clear.

ROI

Five games is ten hours for Euro 2024 on Fubo. Is that worth your time to sign up? Maybe if you just want to watch a few of the games and get in and out under the free trial. At $79.99/month, it’s hard to see many fans pulling the trigger there. These are games that are mostly lower-tiered group games but still fans of these teams or soccer diehards will be forced to make that call. 

But what should be said is that for millions of fans who do NOT have cable or MVPD, getting Fubo specifically for these games gets you a slimmer cable bundle for a month or however long you’ll keep it and you can certainly get a lot of mileage out of that. That’s why this whole arrangement exists. That said, there will be people who already have cable who will sign up and basically have a redundant cable package (also why this arrangement exists).

Fubo does have MLB Network and NHL Network which are not on YouTube TV, but is that enough of a lure for you to remain on the service? It also has access to NFL RedZone, but that’s an extra cost. It also has the Bally RSNs and NESN in New England. Is that enough? Based on your fandom, it may be, but based on their overall numbers, most likely not.  Unlike Netflix, Amazon, Peacock, etc, you just don’t get anything that is truly exclusive to those services that you could binge-watch and the amount of games you get here is pretty meager. This is just not a great offering at all unless you’re someone who doesn’t have an existing cable package, which most sports fans already have. We’re giving this a 24 out of 25.

Final Score

Overall, this gets an 84 out of 100 on the Outrage Meter.

It’s a brutal deal for sports fans. If Fubo could improve the broadcast quality’s consistency and have better trial offers, that would certainly improve how fans view the Fubo streaming exclusives. This arrangement will be around for 2028’s Euro and other UEFA  events, so the bad news is that this isn’t a one-time thing. Whether that outrage should pointed towards Fox or Fubo, is your call!