In this week’s episode, we dive into a different type of fandom. Fandom for the sports-themed show “Ted Lasso.”
Entertainment fandom is similar to sports fandom. The quality of the product is at its core. A show needs to have some emotional impact. It can generate laughter or trigger an adrenalin surge through excitement.
It’s also vital that entertainment consumption has some communal aspects. For example, people like to talk about the latest episode. Ted Lasso even has a Twitter account with about 250,000 followers. And there is merch. You can own an AFC Richmond jersey.
I first heard about Ted Lasso while teaching my course on sports marketing and fandom. I was going a little off-script and discussing the Cobra Kai reboot. Immediately, I had multiple students telling me I had to watch Ted Lasso. I took a while to get around to the show because it is on Apple TV. Eventually, I got to it, and the students were correct – it is something special.
Ted Lasso is a brilliantly done sports show. The lead is extraordinarily likable, the premise is new, and supporting details all work. It has a 90% plus rating on Rotten Tomatoes and it recently set a record for most Emmy nominations. It's also a case study on fandom. It’s a fictional team, but the fandom is authentic.
The episode is structured in three parts. The first part considers the Ted Lasso show. The nuts and bolts of the program. The second part considers sports TV shows and movies. In part three, we diagnose why the show works. We finish with a quick look ahead to season 2.
We do this all while trying to avoid spoilers.
Listen to the full episode on Spotify, Apple Music, and Stitcher.