Why “Ted Lasso” is a match made in globalizers’ paradise

“Ted Lasso” is a match made in globalizers’ paradise. It took an American media / tech platform to make an iconic English football show, and it took English football to make Apple TV + a legitimate global media player. Some Britons and Americans might be offended by this truth, but “Ted Lasso” wouldn’t have the same global reach if it were a British production, and it wouldn’t have the same global resonance if it were. it was one of our American sports. .

The acclaimed Apple TV + comedy, which just won seven Emmys, is a lot to a lot of people – a call for optimism and kindness in a time of negativity and anger; a master class in leadership; a Christian allegory; a primer on mental health; a case study on intercultural learning and personal growth; a repudiation of the consumption of tea. But for the story of globalization, “Ted Lasso” is here to think outside the box (to borrow the type of everyday Britishism that so tickles the former Wichita State coach who now runs AFC Richmond) between America’s dominance over most forms of global pop culture (think movies, music, television, social media) and its historic isolationism in sports.

This discrepancy helps explain why football, despite being the default sport in the world, is seriously under-represented in the pantheon of major sports films. A Hollywood studio has already translated a great English football movie (I didn’t say there wasn’t one!) Into baseball (Hint: Drew Barrymore is dealing with a crazy Red Sox boyfriend) , but if I were a studio or streaming boss these days, when the box office and overseas screens reign supreme, I would translate all of our old classics – “The Natural,” “A League of Their Own “,” Field of Dreams “,” Jerry Maguire “, you name it – in football.

Separately, Apple TV + and the English Premier League, the most globalized of all domestic sports leagues, broadcast live to 189 countries, boast of their ability to reach a billion screens worldwide, which is another way. to say that these two were meant for each other. And with sport becoming more and more important and valuable day by day as a form of entertainment still consumed and shared in real time, Apple TV + is not alone in capitalizing on the popularity of global gaming.

The character of Ted Lasso, let’s not forget, was born in a series of promos inspired by NBC Sports in 2013 when the network acquired the US broadcast rights to the English Premier League. Amazon acquired the streaming rights for the league in Britain and selected Prime members in Asia with its lavishly produced documentaries tracing the seasons of Premier League clubs.

Sports, entertainment and media continue to converge against the backdrop of the rise of football in America and the rise of the United States in football. Surprisingly, more people in the United States watched the Italy-England Euro Championship football final this summer than the first three games of the Suns-Bucks NBA Finals.

The progressive takeover of the game by American interests is the global story of today’s global pop culture. As fictional, the vanity of “Ted Lasso” is strangely nostalgic: the innocent abroad discovering the quirks of an unimaginably alien environment. In the real world, however, English and European football is rocked by wave after wave of American investors who have realized that confining their sports magic to our own sports would be as foolish as if Coca-Cola had chosen not to sell its fizz abroad. Indeed, English fans were quick to blame many of these American sports moguls and their backers for the unsuccessful attempt to initiate relegation without relegation (if you don’t know about relegation, you aren’t watching ” Ted Lasso “) European- wide” super league “.

Arsenal, owned by the same Kroenke family business that owns the Los Angeles Rams, are one of three of the so-called Big Six English clubs now controlled by US sports operators. Silver Lake Partners owns a minority stake in Manchester City. San Francisco 49ers have stake in Leeds United; former Disney CEO Michael Eisner acquired Portsmouth’s lower division; former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt owns Olympique de Marseille in France; Actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have taken over a small Welsh club and already have a deal with Netflix to chronicle this culture shock.

Unlike billionaires elsewhere in the world who bought English football as a vanity hobby, Americans who buy are mostly seasoned sports operators drawn to the business opportunity.

English owners (like the show’s Rebecca Welton, Ted Lasso’s boss), coaches and players are all a distinct minority in the hyper-globalized Premier League, and one of the realistic joys of “Ted Lasso” is the diversity of the team, with Nigerians, Mexicans, Dutch, French, Zimbabweans and Canadians. We are now seeing more and more young American players thriving in England and across the continent, although there still seems to be a stigma attached to American coaches having trouble talking about cleats and pitch, instead of shoes. and field.

Perhaps season 3 of “Ted Lasso” will involve a takeover of the club by a group of American investors who feel that Rebecca, Keeley and Higgins haven’t done enough to market the AFC Richmond enthusiasts. The new strategy: to strike a deal with a deep-pocketed American streaming service to take advantage of all that globalization has to offer.

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