How Ted Lasso ended up in ‘FIFA 23’ — and then racked up over 1 million wins

Ted Lasso has won more than 1 million football games.

It’s not the flesh-and-blood fantasy football manager from the Apple TV+ sports movie “Ted Lasso,” played by Jason Sudeikis, but the digital avatar of the AFC Richmond gaffer that can be played as a character work on “FIFA 23,” which was released in September.

The players chose to use the mode, which was introduced for the first time this year in the best soccer video game as part of a collaboration with the Emmy-winning show, enough to win more than one million games with it. , for “FIFA 23” publisher Electronic Arts.

Those wins are among the 10.3 million users who bought and played the game in the first week after its Sept. 1 launch. 30, the company said.

Also in the game is Lasso’s fictional AFC Richmond club and its Nelson Road stadium (in the “Rest of World” clubs section), along with unlockables from the show and other elements of the series, including players Roy Kent, Jamie Tartt, Dani O Rojas, Sam Obisanya, and Isaac McAdoo.

Ted Lasso himself, of course, is the headliner. So how and why did Electronic Arts eliminate the character and his team from the game?

Obviously, the soccer bet is perfect right away, but making a team work requires discussions and technical work. It’s a difficult and slow process, but it’s a little faster thanks to the willingness of both parties to get it done.

“We are often people who do what others do,” said Cam Weber, executive vice president and general manager of the group at EA Sports, in a recent call with The Athletic. “The workers on the show became fans and played FIFA. There was a real passion on both sides that both teams wanted to work together.”

The idea of ​​adding content and content to a FIFA game began with the goal of including it in “FIFA 22.” Physical production took a long time because Electronic Arts was involved in production and development for the way games were built, and specific windows before production. Names like FIFA will be built every year, Weber said. Therefore, Ted Lasso will have to wait until that information is added to the game.

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When the time is right it is not a serious project to integrate the TV show into the video game.

“We’re pretty used to building — putting together playgrounds, teams, kits,” Weber said. “We’re always busy.”

On the legal side, EA had to make deals with Apple TV, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, and the acting talent “Ted Lasso”. Nothing has been disclosed about the contracts.

FIFA producers and developers traveled to London to do eye tracking on the “Ted Lasso” set, working around the cast’s schedule.

Actor’s voices are not included. So Roy Kent has no curse words in the “E” game.

A message was left for Sudeikis, who is best known for his “Saturday Night Live” stint and film and TV work behind his management.

“He’s passionate about the game and a joy to work with,” Weber said.

Sudeikis gave a statement through Electronic Arts when the “FIFA 23” contract was announced: “I am truly blessed, and very grateful, to have had so many special opportunities in my career and to now, and I consider this experience among the best of them. , As long-time fans of EA Sports’ “FIFA,” Ted Lasso and the entire AFC Richmond team put Being in the new version of the game is a dream come true for myself and the rest of the fellas.

Actions like “Ted Lasso” are good for EA to renew the franchise as it enters its fourth year in the middle of a major change: This year’s game will be the last one to use to the FIFA name in the title before changing to “EA Sports FC” the following year due to a licensing dispute.

EA has been publishing FIFA games since 1993 and has reportedly earned over $20 billion in sales making it one of the most successful video games of all time, and the game Best selling sport. It is estimated that 150 million people play the game across 200 countries.

How does it work now? In addition to the 10.3 million users in the first week – the best for any FIFA game, the company said – its first 23 days on the market saw 15.7 billion minutes in spend playing 1.7 billion games with 4.3 billion targets so far, EA said. .

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“We had an amazing campaign and a very strong engagement,” Weber said.

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Mat Piscatella, senior video game industry analyst at The NPD Group, is not sure what kind of sales or game effect “Ted Lasso” will have in “FIFA 23” because there is no specific data or research maybe found.

“It seems to be a very good relationship with a lot of connection, but there is no way that I can make any kind of choice about the meaning of the whole name,” he said. “It’s off to a great start, as are many of the other big games that are releasing right now (it doesn’t hurt that the launch window for games this year is so light) – but it’s still early days.” really tell someone else.”

Will Ted Lasso and others return in future editions of EA’s soccer franchise?

That decision has yet to be made, the company said.

Currently, the fantasy content is well received by fans and critics alike.

Andrew Webster wrote well in The Verge about playing the “Ted Lasso” experience, going as far as getting AFC Richmond into Major League Soccer and defeating the top teams of America. His only complaint is that the lack of dialogue limits how much of the spirit of the show can make it into the game.

“The game does a great job of recreating the looks of actors like Phil Dunster, Toheeb Jimoh, Kola Bokinni, and Cristo Fernández so they know as much as they do on the show. My mind, just look at that virtual recreation of Jason Sudeikis’ beard,” he wrote.

Others were more serious in voicing that sentiment.

“Just as superheroes are popular because of their powers, not their costumes, ‘Ted Lasso’ is the best because of its features, not its name,” he wrote. Luke Saward at Screenrant.com, noting that the inclusion of story sources suggested some. there is no real playground.

The game has 19,000 players, 700 teams, 100 stadiums and 30 leagues. This year also includes the top divisions of women’s football in England (Barclays Women’s Super League) and France (Division 1 Arkema).

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The upcoming men’s and women’s FIFA World Cup tournaments will be part of the game as free downloadable content. The game is played on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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For those who don’t know, Ted Lasso (an NBC Sports announcer) is an American League II professional soccer player who is hired on the show by the owner of a Premier League soccer team who is obsessed with his husband. philandering ex-husband, first of all. the owner of the club, because Lasso has no knowledge of the game, and he thinks that his inability to break the wood. Instead, Lasso showed love – and the show became a hit and was widely praised.

It was launched on Apple TV + in 2020 and had its second edition last year. A third has been ordered and is in progress.

The inclusion of the characters “Ted Lasso” in the game is part of Electronic Arts’ broader strategy to infuse pop culture and entertainment with its portfolio of video games in its quest to grow users and build on $7.5 billion in revenue by 2022.

“We really see EA Sports at the center of sports culture and fandom,” said Weber. “We are looking for more opportunities to expand our reach in pop culture, sports culture and entertainment.”

Along with Nickelodeon, EA’s “Madden” NFL football franchise will be the focus of an upcoming Paramount+ movie called “Fantasy Football” in which a player’s daughter discovers that she can control it’s on the field using the game “Madden NFL 23”. Starting Nov. 25.

Along with Marvel Entertainment, Electronic Arts has put star players in superhero costumes as part of the FIFA Ultimate Team mode in the new soccer game.

Electronic Arts plans to pursue more video game partnerships in the future but would not disclose details.

“You’ll see more of this in the future,” Weber said.

(Image of Ted Lasso from “FIFA 23”: Courtesy of EA Sports)



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