Even though the Premier League is already one of (if not the) most popular soccer/football leagues in the United States, new television rights holder NBC is going to creative lengths to bring new fans into the fold. Case in point is their new ad campaign featuring Jason Sudeikis as American football coach Ted Lasso taking over as Spurs manager. Though comparisons between the two sports became tedious long ago, Sudeikis pokes fun at the concept to make this funny.
In addition to the comedy, Americans watching television, perusing Facebook or even riding the New York City subway are being not so gently urged to pick a Premier League club (and not just one of the big ones) to support by the network that promises to broadcast all 380 matches this season on one platform or another.
The attempts to indoctrinate the general public start underground. Subway cars going between Manhattan's Grand Central Station and Times Square have been slathered in paired ads both inside and out, presenting each side of a Premier League rivalry and forcing travelers to "keep calm and pick a side" (whether it be Liverpool v Everton, Manchester United v Manchester City or Arsenal v Spurs) simply by choosing a seat.
And when those travelers reach street level in Times Square, a giant Gareth Bale is waiting with open arms to greet them (even though he might be joining a different league to which NBC does not own the broadcast rights any minute now).
Once people sit in front of their computers or gawk at their phones, the push to select a club to support continues with NBC's "Pick your PL Team" Facebook app. You either select "I have a team" or "I need a team" and after entering your social media account of choice or name and email address (feel free to use Bert Tiddle's name and made-up email if you prefer anonymity), the questions begin.
If you have a team, you're asked simple trivia questions about their club. If you need one, random inquires of preference ("Adele or Katy Perry?" "Huge crowd or intimate gathering?" "Favorite James Bond?") lead to the app telling you which of the 20 Premier League clubs you now support for better or worse.
And if that isn't enough, NBC Sports Network, which is also the broadcast partner of MLS, will air an hour long "Premier League Club Selection Show" starting August 8 and rerunning in the lead-up to the start of the season. So if you see a bunch of Americans walking around in Hull City shirts, you'll know why.