The real reason Brits don’t watch Ted Lasso


Not many Brits watch
Not many Brits watch "Ted Lasso," but it's not necessarily for reasons of taste.
Photo: Apple TV+

The smash-hit Apple TV+ comedy Ted Lasso is set in greater London. It’s about the unlikely coach of a fictional team in England’s (and the world’s) top soccer league, which is England’s (and the world’s) favorite sport. So why don’t Brits actually watch the show?

No, it’s not some disconnect between American and British humor. The real reason has more to do with adoption of the streaming service itself. And some people blame Apple TV+ for that.

Just 8.7% of UK streaming homes subscribe to Apple TV+

Ted Lasso is by most accounts the most popular show on Apple TV+. In its first two years it took home 11 Emmy Awards. Anticipation of the March 15 kickoff of its third and final season is building. Watch the trailer.

But in the country where the popular show is set — the Richmond upon Thames section of London, England — very few people watch it. And viewership data as well as some British viewers point the finger at Apple TV+ for that, according to a report in SFGate.

Other major streamers are crushing Apple TV+ in the UK, apparently. Apple’s streaming service is in only 8.7% of homes with streaming there (1.69 million). Netflix finds its way into 17.15 million UK homes and Amazon Prime gets 13.12 million. Those numbers come from the UK’s Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB).

“You know Netflix is all over the place, possibly Amazon Prime, the BBC and the iPlayer and all of that, but the take of Apple TV is quite low,” Gareth Roberts, head of the Richmond upon Thames town council, told SFGate. “That’s why it’s possibly not made as much of an impact here.”

Roberts went on to emphasize it’s not the show’s fault. It’s the platform’s.

“I don’t think it’s because it’s an American show. I think it’s because it’s on the Apple platform, and not many people have it,” Roberts said. “The U.K. absolutely laps up a good American comedy.”

Hard to sell Brits ‘lots of channels’

Emmy Morrow, who runs a Ted Lasso tour in Richmond, said the show’s title star, Jason Sudeikis, is often seen unassumingly drinking in the borough’s busiest pub, the White Cross. That’s not the one where many of the show’s scenes are shot, the Crown & Anchor (known as The Prince’s Head in real life). If he did that in New York, “he’d be mobbed” because of his fame from the show, she added.

“It really drives me mad because it’s not because of the content. It would absolutely be lapped up by the British public because it’s about our Premier League football. It is purely because of the medium,” she said. “I joke with my [‘Ted Lasso’ tour] guests — we see it as very American to have lots of channels. Trying to sell a channel package to people in Britain is quite hard. I think the second it’s sold to Netflix or even Prime, it’s gonna be big.”

Apple selling its hottest show to Netflix or Amazon Prime? Well, perhaps stranger, even less-likely things have happened. Like the premise of Ted Lasso, in which a small-time American football coach from Kansas becomes the manager of a Premier League soccer club.



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