Jude Bellingham Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Fox Sports’ coverage of its first UEFA Euro tournament is off to a positive start, despite vociferous complaints online.

The six UEFA Euro 2024 games to air on Fox’s networks through Sunday are averaging 1.202 million viewers, a 33% increase from the first weekend of the 2020 tournament (which took place in 2021) on ESPN’s networks (901,000).

That data does not include the two games to air exclusively on Fubo. Additionally, out-of-home viewing was not included in Nielsen viewership before the delayed 2020 tournament.

The schedule was led by England’s drab 1-0 win over Serbia on Sunday, averaging 1.828 million viewers. That’s the most-watched Euro group stage match since Spain-Italy in 2012, which drew 2.113 million viewers.

Three other matches, all airing on the Fox broadcast network, also topped one million viewers. Italy’s win over Albania averaged 1.426 million on Saturday, while Spain’s win over Croatia led into it with an average of 1.284 million. The tournament began with Germany’s thumping of Scotland, drawing 1.1 million viewers on Friday.

Two matches aired on FS1 this weekend. Denmark-Slovenia averaged 933,000 viewers on Sunday, while Netherlands-Poland averaged 636,000.

Compared to three years ago on a match-to-match basis, three of the four matches airing on broadcast were up from 2021’s tournament (with one having no comparison thanks to the Denmark-Finland match that was paused due to Christian Eriksen’s on-pitch cardiac arrest). Only one of those four matches three years ago aired on broadcast, with the other three airing on cable. Of the two cable matches, Denmark-Slovenia was up to the comparable match in 2021, while Netherlands-Poland was down.

Several days into the tournament, Fox’s coverage has been the target of many online complaints. Landon Donovan’s commentary alongside Ian Darke has been roundly criticized for being bland and uninspired, while the decision to sublicense several group stage matches to Fubo (originally announced two years ago) has also received plenty of scorn. Particularly, Fubo’s bare-bones presentation has been criticized as being “amateur” by some thanks in part to the lack of an on-screen scorebug.

Fox’s group stage coverage continues this week with matchday two beginning on Wednesday, June 19. Fubo still has two more group-stage matches left to air – Slovakia-Ukraine on Friday and Georgia-Czechia on Saturday. The remainder of the group-stage matches will air on either Fox or FS1.

[Data via Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.