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FOX on verge of acquiring European Championship rights

European Championship rights

FOX is on the verge of acquiring the European Championship rights in the United States for the 2024 and 2028 competitions, according to Sports Business Journal. Currently, ESPN broadcasts the quadrennial event. In fact, ESPN broadcasted each Euros since 2008. Therefore, for ESPN, the rights package is something of a commodity.

Moreover, the acquisition of the European Championship rights would allow FOX to also air the qualifiers and the UEFA Nations League. The Nations League is actually a different competition altogether, but they do feature in the same media package.

As stated previously, ESPN currently holds the rights to all the competitions FOX will receive. The Euros are a mainstay on the main ESPN channel. ESPN often sent a reporters or an entire studio crew to European nations to cover the event.

Designated commentary crews, pregame and postgame discussions for each game and other forms of commentary showed the tournament’s importance to the channel.

Now, coverage seems to be heading to FOX.

European Championship rights joins other coverage on FOX

As of now, much of the soccer content on FOX is domestic to the United States. A number of MLS games, USMNT and USWNT games and CONCACAF competitions air on FOX.

However, the prized possession for FOX is the World Cup. In 2011, FOX bought the rights to the world’s biggest tournament for $425 million, a steep increase from what ESPN dished out for the prior tournaments.

Unfortunately, as of press time, there is no information available regarding the price FOX will be paying for the European Championship rights. But, we know ESPN paid roughly $115 million for just Euro 2020. Therefore, it is no surprise that UEFA sought in excess of $300 million to broadcast the 2024 and 2028 tournaments.

So, let’s break down what FOX’s soccer repertoire includes. With the anticipated inclusion of the European Championship rights, it seems FOX holds the power to most of the major tournaments over the next eight years.

FOX will broadcast the 2022 and 2026 World Cups, the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the 2025 Gold Cup, and the 2024 Copa America. Evidently, much of the international landscape runs through FOX in the United States.

There were a number of other entities in the running to acquire the rights to the Euros. For one, ESPN surely desired to hold on to the rights. CBS and Paramount+ have a growing footprint in the soccer broadcasting world. Finally, NBC and Peacock surely had their hat in the ring at some point.

Regardless, the deal is a huge win for FOX. Now, at least in the United States, the channel is the must-have location to watch international soccer competitions.

Other rights and streaming

Like ESPN, CBS and NBC, FOX has a direct-to-consumer streaming service via Tubi. ESPN+, Paramount+ and Peacock now hold rights themselves.

With FOX aiming to grow Tubi into a more robust streaming service that offers sports, this explains FOX’s foray into the international game. With the Premier League and MLS being the only major leagues with rights up for grabs, FOX is among the broadcasters bidding for those American media rights too.

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40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Eric T

    October 26, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    Fox is one of the worst networks for soccer coverage. They butchered the World Cup and treat their other properties like cheap content. Bad news for soccer fans.

  2. jason

    October 20, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    I like ESPN+ coverage of the qualifying rounds of the Euros and World Cup along with Nations League. The coverage of the actual Euro tournament itself stunk and i had no interest in it because of that.

    Copa America needs to be a 24 team all western hemisphere tournament that uses the same format as the Euros and takes place at the same time.

  3. greg

    October 20, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    If ESPN snags some matches (for sure early Saturday matches makes some sense…less conflict w/ college football so can be on ESPN proper, or ESPN2) the return of Ian Darke & Macca on matches would be fun.

  4. Anthony

    October 20, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    1) Fox is kind of annoying, but it seems like they will put a lot of games on big Fox, which is free. So that is that. I know a lot of people like streaming but free to air with a digital antenna works well

    2) Without the Euros or World Cup, and without Champions League, ESPN really needs a piece of the Premier League. So does NBC. It seems natural that those two will split the rights, and it is the best outcome for the Premier League in terms of exposure.

  5. Bram Weiser

    October 20, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    @dave…first, sorry that the setup here puts this response at the bottom of the stack of comments.

    Next, thanks for the back-pat. 🙂 Honestly, though, I think that their mention of 2025 makes some sense as it’d imply a quadrennial Gold Cup (after this Summer’s edition), so maybe it’s not WRONG…just incomplete…to mention only that edition and not the 2023 one as well.

  6. Mark

    October 20, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    Also this Lalas gem from the World Cup: “England doesn’t have any world class players in their team”

  7. Michael F

    October 20, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    @greg There seems to be a conclusion that EPL might be a split with two different providers as they probably paid close attention to how the NHL just recently cashed in big time by going with a split of their league games with two different providers (ESPN and TNT).

    I got a sense from the Athletic article that NBC will bid hard to keep EPL, and I am not sure CBS/Viacom is ready to make such a commitment to go after EPL as much as NBC is in trying to retain EPL, based on comments from the respective representatives of each provider. The Athletic article also seemed to suggest that streaming giants like Amazon or Netflix is a long shot into wanting to get into the bidding for EPL.

    We all know that Disney has a ton of money to throw around, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that ESPN/ESPN+ gets a piece of the EPL pie along with NBC retaining it.

    We shall see. By mid November we might know, I guess.

  8. Barry

    October 20, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    I lost interest in anything Lalas says a decade ago when he went on TV and announced that the top teams in MLS could successfully compete for Champions League places in the Premier League.

  9. Mark

    October 20, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    Just whooshed myself by misusing mispronounced 🙄

  10. Mark

    October 20, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Even as a Liverpool supporter, I find Carragher to be insufferable.

  11. Mark

    October 20, 2021 at 11:54 am

    At least it hopefully won’t be as bad as years past when Fox had a woman (whose name fortunately escapes me) who made a reference to Gonzalo Higuain by pronouncing it: He-Goo-E-Yan. She even managed to mispronounced Peter Crouch, for God’s sake. To be fair, she wasn’t there long

  12. greg

    October 20, 2021 at 10:31 am

    Oh, sorry…meant I hope NBC keeps the EPL. I’m bummed ESPN is about to lose the Euros…the point being I find Fox’s approach to be generally bad.

  13. greg

    October 20, 2021 at 10:30 am

    Lalas isn’t afraid to share his opinion, yes. And that’s the problem. He talks too much, too loudly and too dismissively. He treats everything like he’s on ESPN 1st Take. He also lost me back when Fox had FA Cup matches and he was sneeringly dismissive of players on a League 2 club. Just a total a-hole. In general the Fox soccer approach tried to mirror their approach to NFL, which was loud, way too jokey and frat-bro. I thought Stone got too wrapped up in that sometimes. When he didn’t he was a good studio host. And yes, Barton was way too invested in his FA Cup legend, but to be fair he made hundreds of appearances in the EPL, had a good career.

    There’s a lot to like about CBS’ treatment of UCL but there are too many instances where the default is to go for the zinger and it too often hits as mean and overly jokey. One thing I like about having Thierry Henry on this year is it’s calmed down Carragher a bit…he’s not talking over everyone else all the time.

    What I found so refreshing about NBC’s approach right away was they talked to soccer fans like intelligent adults. I get the misgivings about Arlo White but I don’t mind him all that much. I like Dixon & Le Seaux. In-studio the Two Robbies are fine…everyone’s game has been raised by Higginbotham, Howard’s gotten better.

    By and large I’ve noticed ESPN does this…the pre-match, halftime and post-match La Liga coverage for the late match on Sundays has been very good – making good use of Sid Lowe and Pablo Zabaleta. Kay Murray is a good studio host, Dan Thomas is getting better. I like listening to Derek Rae cover matches, and most of the other announcers are good enough in their La Liga & Bundesliga coverage.

    I hope NBC keeps it, but if there were an NBC/ESPN split that would be fine too.

  14. Christopher Ernest WATSON

    October 20, 2021 at 10:01 am

    To be fair, Rob Stone was obviously having a laugh when he did the “THE AMERICAN” bit but Barton is bloody awful and yes, is a one trick pony with his “once upon a time” I played, and lost, in the FA Cup final. The only ones on US TV as bad as him is the two Robbies and Deadly Dull Lee Dixon and Ian Darke. It is a competition as to which one has the most appalling and annoying voice.

  15. locofooty

    October 20, 2021 at 9:27 am

    Lalas is a FIFA lackey.

  16. Michelangelo

    October 20, 2021 at 8:42 am

    Please no ESPN is perfect. Their app is fantastic and their coverage is perfection. ESPN is amazing and I really don’t want to see Fox get the rights for the EUROS. The FIFA WORLD CUP needs to come back to ESPN their coverage of the 2014, 2010, and 2006 World Cup Coverage alongside ABC was immersive and exciting. Please come back ESPN.

  17. Christopher Guardiano

    October 20, 2021 at 5:23 am

    @Cam FX unfortunately isn’t an option for Fox for broadcasting the Euros because they sold it, FXX, Nat Geo and other 20th Century Fox properties (ex: Star Wars & Marvel) to Disney back in 2018.

  18. El Jefe

    October 19, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    I never got the hate for Lalas, Stone, and Twellman. I always thought they are/were top notch. Lalas never afraid to give his opinion even it might be outside the normie mainstream viewpoint. Even sometimes when I dont agree I always appreciate that.

  19. Mark

    October 19, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Greg. Are you saying you’re not a fan of Rob “THE AMERICAAAN” Stone or Alexi “ I played 44 times in Serie A” ? Maybe we could even get Warren “I once played in an FA Cup” Barton. They make Twellman look competent 🙄

  20. cmasia

    October 19, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    Mercator, what you say has merit. And I’m not questioning your sanity! 🙂 🙂
    But there are an awful lot of “ifs” and “as long as” stipulations in your comment
    Cheers,
    cmasia.

  21. Nosferatu

    October 19, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    @Mercator, I’m still waiting for my Spectrum service in New York to offer FS2 in high definition, so for now 4k is a pipe dream!

  22. ToffeeFever

    October 19, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    Hello, Univision/Telemundo.

  23. dave

    October 19, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    @Bram, good eye, the 2023 Gold Cup is scheduled with Qatar as a guest and Fox holding the US English-language broadcast rights. I thought Fox’ Gold Cup deal only runs through 2023, but maybe they extended. Perhaps the original SBJ article had a typo and meant “2023”.

  24. Mercator

    October 19, 2021 at 2:19 pm

    I’m not sure I hate this, and I usually hate FOX. FOX has been in the lead with 4K sports productions in the US, they regularly show big football and baseball games in 4K to stream for not extra charge. If they can do the same for the World Cup and the Euros, I would be quite pleased. For Nations League and Qualifiers, they will stick it all on some streaming service (same as anyone else) or they probably have enough channels to show them all on TV (FOX, FS1, FS2, FSC, and a few others). It’s not as good as ESPN+ but probably the same thing any other broadcaster would do. Plus, its a summer tournament, 2 month subscription max and Fox should be able to hire decent people to work in the summer when the leagues aren’t running. As long as they hire a decent studio for the actual tournments and I’m not stuck with Alexi between every game, I don’t mind this – particularly since it comes with a confirmation Fox isn’t interested in club leagues (like EPL) and it frees up more cash for ESPN to spend on the EPL.

  25. cmasia

    October 19, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    I would question the sanity of any person who sees this development as good news.

  26. Bram Weiser

    October 19, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    Hi, again.

    This article made the same mistake I thought I spotted in SBJ’s original piece…

    I believe the CONCACAF Gold Cup happens every two (2) years, not four (4)…unless that’s about to change?

    If it isn’t, then the list of Fox events would include the 2025 Gold Cup, as shown here, but also the 2023 edition, too.

    Sincerely,
    Bram Weiser

  27. greg

    October 19, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    Given that Fox is even less consumer/fan-friendly than NBC/Comcast I’d expect them to stream as much as possible…in a way like they did when they had UCL and put most matches on the tier you had to pay extra for on top of a cable subscription.

    Plus, ugh…Alexi Lalas & Rob Stone get lots of air time.

    A real downgrade to how well ESPN generally did it.

  28. Ricky

    October 19, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    Espn did a great job on their coverage. Disappointed to see this. Yet another monthly fee I’m sure. We need a big investment group of soccer fans to get together and just buy all the rights and put them under 1 roof for one price.

  29. John Ketcham

    October 19, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    The biggest question is does this free up 300 million as part of a 2 billion plus offer to the PL for the six year deal for ESPN/ESPN+

  30. Azer

    October 19, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    Currently the qualifiers are on ESPN+ and a few on ESPN3. Where will Fox Sports put the qualifiers? Will it be on it’s streaming service Tubi?

  31. Hans

    October 19, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Just to add to this if FOX screws this up with Americanization of the Euros, they are toast for me, I already struggle with the two Robbies and the other studio pundits for the EPL, what a difference the studio audience is on Paramount+ for the UCL & UEL.

  32. Hans

    October 19, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Just my take on the issue of buying streaming subscription services. First I will look at the club level games that are to my liking and I will take out a yearly subscription. Then I will look at the International tournaments and I am not interested in the qualifiers, so that would be either 1 or 2 months subscription, I can handle this.
    .
    Just in case the US providers for these events think we are chumps and can be taking to the cleaners, there is always IPTV, free Internet links to matches, downloads of completed matches, sharing a subscription if they allow more then 1 device simultaneously and if that doesn’t work get a VPN to connect to a provider in a different global area.

  33. Mark

    October 19, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    At least it will be limited to Europe, so I don’t have to listen to Rob Stone scream “The AMERICAN” every time Pulisic scratches himself or farts.

  34. Dan N.

    October 19, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    I don’t really like this, especially since this is a downgrade from the ESPN experience with UEFA.

    But, if it means taking their hands off the EPL, perhaps it’s an okay tradeoff, I guess.

  35. David the Yank

    October 19, 2021 at 11:48 am

    Very strange article. Just don’t understand what the author is saying in multiple spots.

    “Therefore, for ESPN, the rights package is something of a commodity.”. Huh? What does this mean?

    *Moreover, the acquisition of the European Championship rights would allow FOX to also air the qualifiers and the UEFA Nations League.” THE qualifiers? Which qualifiers? Euro qualifiers? Or world cup qualifiers? Both? Currently espn has been showing both sets of qualifiers while fox has the world cup itself. So which are part of which packages?

    Confused.

    • Christopher Harris

      October 19, 2021 at 11:59 am

      Hi David, the rights package includes qualifiers for the UEFA European Championship (i.e. Euro 2024 and 2028)

  36. John Ketcham

    October 19, 2021 at 11:27 am

    If FOX forces us to buy Tubi for the bulk of the Euros I’m not buying. ESPN+, Paramount+ and Peacock all have value beyond soccer. As much as I love UEFA comps I can’t imagine paying 50-200 dollars a year just for that

  37. Jasinho

    October 19, 2021 at 11:26 am

    “the acquisition of the European Championship rights would allow FOX to also air the qualifiers and the UEFA Nations League”

    The $64,000 question is, will they?

    With ESPN+ we got nearly every qualifier and nations league match. The onus is on Tubi to deliver just as good of an experience. I’m not holding my breath though. Heck, Fox Soccer Plus may even resurrect as well as the match pass.

    I’m tired of FOX trying to Americanize the sport.

  38. Cam

    October 19, 2021 at 11:21 am

    There is more than one game on at a time only in the final game of the group stage, and Fox could easily use FS1 and FS2 (or maybe the Fox network or a cable channel like FX) to broadcast those simultaneous games. If Fox hasn’t created a paywalled streaming service for the World Cup or Copa America there seems to be little to indicate that acquiring the Euro rights would all of the sudden make them put games on such a streaming service. Perhaps for the qualifiers and/or Nations League games, but not the finals themselves.

  39. trip

    October 19, 2021 at 11:09 am

    And this probably means another streaming service to purchase to watch games that are not on Fox (which will likely be only semis and finals) and FS1.

    Peacock – EPL
    ESPN+ – Bundesliga, LaLiga, MLS, FA Cup, Carabao Cup
    Paramount+ – Champions League/Europa
    Fox ?? – World Cup/Euros

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