Shares of fuboTV (FUBO -1.58%) finally caught a break on Thursday afternoon. The sports-first live-TV streaming service announced that it had acquired the exclusive live streaming rights to the qualifying matches of the South American Football Confederation for the Qatar World Cup 2022. The top four teams from those matches will move on in pursuit of soccer's World Cup in the summer of next year.
FuboTV will be at the mercy of larger channel partners to stream other qualifying matches, but nailing a streaming exclusive in a prolific continental federation is a pretty big deal. Terms of the deal weren't announced, but it's interesting to see a small player like fuboTV cement its "sports-first" status with unique access to important soccer games. The stock was trading 7% higher in after-hours trading following the news.
It's fitting enough that fuboTV would strike an exclusive deal to cover roughly 70 confederation games that will take place between June and early next year. The streaming service was originally launched as a way to catch legal soccer matches.
It's also fair that this is the event that could mark a near-term turnaround for the stock. Shares of fuboTV traded as low as $20.26 on Thursday, its lowest price point since mid-November. How you view Thursday's new low depends a lot on your starting line. The stock has nearly doubled since hitting the market six months ago, and that's good. fuboTV shares have surrendered roughly two-thirds of their pre-holiday peak in mid-December, and that's either bad, or a dinner bell.
In terms of fundamentals fuboTV has more than exceeded growth expectations in its brief tenure as a publicly traded investment. Pro forma revenue rose 71% for the third quarter it reported in November, its first since its IPO in early October. It followed that up with another better-than-expected 98% top-line pop for the fourth quarter. Guidance issued earlier this year for the quarter that ended last week sees growth continuing to accelerate with its forecast of 98% to 102% year-over-year revenue growth.
Drawing a crowd hasn't been a problem. The 547,880 paid subscribers it had at end of 2020 were 73% more than the accounts it had on its books a year earlier. Viewers are engaged, averaging more than four hours of daily streaming. Marketers love fuboTV's engaged audience. Ad revenue per user has roughly tripled over the past two years, up to an average of $8.47 a month. Total revenue per user has risen 17% over the past year to $69.19, fueled by the increase in ad revenue as well as a 13% increase in subscription rates paid.
Some naysayers say fuboTV can't compete with the tech giants and media stocks it competes with in this growing niche, but are any of them going to see revenue roughly double in the first quarter? Are any of fuboTV's rivals generating nearly $8.50 a month per user in ad revenue?
This week's soccer deal is a strong statement. It's going to make fuboTV the default platform for soccer fans, but it's also a wake-up call to bears who figured a small player with a niche audience couldn't justify striking exclusive content deals. fuboTV may be unloved at the moment, but it keeps kicking the ball past the goalie.