Whether you like the TV series Ted Lasso on Apple TV+ or not, it’s hard to ignore the impact it’s had on mainstream America. With seven Emmys under its belt, it’s easy to forget that the show started life in 2013 as a series of TV commercials to promote NBC’s coverage of the Premier League.
“When we got the rights to the Premier League in 2013, I think we all know the general perception of the American football fan,” explained Pierre Moossa, NBC’s coordinating producer for its Premier League coverage. “It wasn’t an exact perception, but it was the perception.
“And the genesis of Ted Lasso was to have a little fun, to make fun of ourselves a little and almost at the same time to publicize the Premier League. The gentleman who created it took that and ran with it, and it became something that ultimately set the tone for our coverage in so many different ways.
What the Ted Lasso TV series has become has been a feel-good hit in the depths of the COVID-19 lockdown. The show deepened Lasso’s character, expanding on what made him so endearing. He wasn’t just the goofy American coach who knew nothing about football.
Rebecca Lowe’s take on Ted Lasso
When World Soccer Talk asked NBC Sports presenter Rebecca Lowe this week about the Ted Lasso Effect, her response was eye-opening.
“It’s so interesting to me because I have a group of school mothers, if you will, who aren’t interested in football other than their child who plays it, but they all watch Ted Lasso“, explained Lowe. “So suddenly they know what I do for a living. They say, ‘oh, my God, this is the game you’re going to do.’
“To be honest, if anything can help us spread the word about the beautiful game and spread our coverage, we’ll take it. We’re working hard to do it ourselves, but Ted Lasso, not only are we so proud that this is something that we started all those years ago, as Pierre said, and then a couple of times it all went viral which eventually led to a show of television. We are so proud to have been linked to this.
Future cross-promotion between Ted Lasso and NBC Sports?
Although NBC Sports has no involvement in the Ted Lasso television series, the show benefited from NBC football coverage, and vice versa. In the first two seasons of the television series, she featured cameos from former NBC football commentator Arlo White.
With Ted Lasso’s third season set to launch this fall, we asked Moossa if there’s a chance other NBC Sports talent will appear on the show.
“You may or may not see our colleagues on future episodes,” Moossa replied.
The answer wasn’t a definite no, leaving the possibility that a star like Lowe could make an appearance in a future episode.
Ted Lasso’s lasting impact for the Premier League
When mainstream America watches Ted Lasso, it won’t automatically turn them into Premier League viewers on NBC Sports. However, it puts the Premier League on their conscience. While that may not translate to more viewers for NBC Sports, it’s a building block of a solid base. This can increase awareness of the league and help explain to non-football fans the concept of major themes such as promotion/relegation as well as the importance of a football team to its community.
There is no doubt that Ted Lasso was a win for NBC Sports and Apple TV+. Season three is set to be his last, so let’s hope it turns out with a bang.
Photo Credit: 27th Annual SAG Awards / Contributor via Getty Images