Coach Lasso and the embodiment of American exceptionalism:NBC Sports promotion of English Premier League football as the foreign sport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study considers the campaign of American broadcast network NBC to cultivate a US-based audience for the English Premier League (EPL) after purchasing broadcast rights in 2013. This involved the creation and introduction of a fictional character, American football coach Ted Lasso, who initially came to England to manage a soccer team and later to provide broadcast commentary. A series of videos chronicling the coach’s antics, soccer and cultural illiteracy, immense inexperience, and limited perspective, which debuted shortly before the network’s inaugural coverage began, garnered considerable attention. A thematic analysis indicated that the campaign portrayed Ted Lasso as an unknowing fool and cavalier clown accompanied by a knowledgeable sidekick, anchored his perspective on American football exclusively, and projected soccer as a foreign, feminine and youth sport. NBC Sports’ promotional campaign effectively combined comedic elements like farce and parody to critique and confront American exceptionalism and US historical indifference to soccer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSoccer and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science

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