Whether you enjoy the television series Ted Lasso on Apple TV+ or not, it’s hard to ignore the impact it has had on mainstream America. With seven Emmys to its name, it’s easy to forget that the show began 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 soccer fan,” explained Pierre Moossa, NBC’s coordinating producer for its Premier League coverage. “It wasn’t an accurate perception, but it was the perception.
“And the genesis of Ted Lasso was to have a little bit of fun, poke a little bit of fun at ourselves, and almost at the same time create awareness about 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 television series Ted Lasso became was a feel-good hit during the depths of the COVID-19 lockdown. The show delved deeper into the Lasso character, broadening what made him so endearing. He wasn’t just the goofy American coach who knew nothing about soccer.
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 answer was revealing.
“It’s so interesting to me because I have a group of school moms, if you like, who don’t have an interest in soccer other than their kid 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 goodness, that’s the game that you go and 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 work our backsides off to do it ourselves, but Ted Lasso, not only are we so proud of it being something that we started all those years ago, as Pierre said, and then a couple of times it all went viral, which ultimately led to a TV show. We’re so proud that we were linked to that.”
Future cross-promotion between Ted Lasso and NBC Sports?
Even though NBC Sports have no involvement in the Ted Lasso television series, the show has benefited from NBC’s soccer coverage, and vice-versa. In the first two seasons of the TV series, it featured cameos from NBC’s former soccer commentator Arlo White.
With season three of Ted Lasso scheduled to launch this fall, we asked Moossa if there’s a possibility of other NBC Sports talent appearing on the show.
“You may or may not see our colleagues on upcoming episodes,” replied Moossa.
The answer was not a definite no, leaving the possibility that a star such as 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’s not going to automatically turn them into viewers of the Premier League on NBC Sports. However, it does put the Premier League into their consciousness. Even though it may not translate into more viewers for NBC Sports, it’s a building block in a strong foundation. It can increase brand awareness of the league, as well as helping to explain to non-soccer fans the concept of main themes such as promotion/relegation as well as how important a soccer team is to its community.
There’s no doubt that Ted Lasso has been a win for both NBC Sports and Apple TV+. Season three is expected to be its final one, so let’s hope it goes out with a bang.
Photo credit: 27th Annual SAG Awards / Contributor via Getty Images