The 2018/19 Premier League season generated $6.3 billion in revenue and saw television viewership spike outside the United Kingdom, with US broadcaster NBC averaging 462,000 viewers per match.
However, luck shifted in the 2020/21 season as Premier League clubs suffered the largest collective loss in their history ($1.4 billion.) Yet as teams tried to counter these losses, English football simultaneously saw rising momentum in the latter half of 2020, but not for reasons one might expect.
Making Football Great Again
In August 2020, the first season of Ted Lasso aired on Apple TV+. The series, which follows an American football coach hired to manage an English football team, was an immediate success and has since gone on to win several awards, including the 2021 Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. Though an achievement, these awards don’t mean nearly as much as the recent licensing deal Ted Lasso struck with the Premier League.
On 3 October, two months after the 2021/22 season started and football fans witnessed incredible displays by Mo Salah and West Ham’s Michail Antonio, the Premier League agreed to a licensing deal with Ted Lasso. While there was initial scepticism, Premier League executives explored the show’s international success and found that Ted Lasso has potential as an overseas advertisement.
As such, the league has allowed Apple TV+ to use archive footage, club kits, and the league trophy in Ted Lasso’s third season.
Why Does It Matter?
This licensing deal is big news for several reasons, but most importantly, it could bring in new overseas audiences to the Premier League. In the United Kingdom, it’s visible how much the Premier League influences the country. In the 2018/2019 season, roughly 70% of the population watched the Premier League, either through the BBC or Sky, and during those years, the UK’s sports betting industry grew significantly.
For example, in a 2019 survey, 50% of UK respondents said they participated in football pools. Participating in football betting in the UK is easy as fans have access to various review sites, which compare match odds and incentives offered by sportsbooks like bet365 and William Hill to ensure participant success.
For example, the Bonus Codes review site found that some of the best free bet codes include matched deposit bonus codes and money-back bonus codes, both of which are offered by football-focused bookies like William Hill.
This ease of access to Premier League matches on broadcasting services like Sky and the diversity of sports betting bonuses available online has turned football into a lucrative business in the United Kingdom, which we have yet to see replicated in North America.
Of course, Americans watch football, but mainly teams in the US, such as Seattle Sounders of Inter Miami, who were formed in 2018 and began playing in the MLS in 2020. However, the success of Ted Lasso and its new licensing deal with the Premier League could cause a spike in Premier League viewership in North America.
Already in sport, there’s been a transition to player-focused content. Premier League clubs have ditched traditional marketing campaigns as they try to gain traction by showcasing the personalities of their players or by offering them Ambassadorial positions.
In many ways, Ted Lasso could play a similar role. Jason Sudeikis, the actor who plays Lasso, is beloved in North America; people will watch the show just for his electric personality, even if they’ve never watched the Premier League. However, by now including league actualities, such as archive footage, viewers in North America may be more inspired to check out a match.