Update 09/21/22: EA's popped over a press release, and the above trailer. "We are delighted to announce that EA SPORTS has brought Ted Lasso and AFC Richmond into FIFA 23. Fans will be able to authentically take control of their favourite club across multiple game modes including Career Mode, Kick-off, Online Friendlies, and Online Seasons."
After weeks of leaks and a pulled database listing, the official Ted Lasso account has confirmed that the fictional feelgood manager and his team, AFC Richmond, will be a part of FIFA 23. From a marketing perspective it's a no-brainer, even if from a real-world perspective it's a bit bonkers to think about a comedy coach and club rubbing shoulders with real-world teams.
Ted Lasso is an enormously popular (and very funny) Apple TV+ series that is currently in the process of filming its third and final season. It follows the journey of an American coach dropped into managing the struggling Premier League side AFC Richmond, who is at first hated by everyone before things take a turn for the better.
The crossover was first 'officially' leaked when AFC Richmond appeared in the FIFA rankings database for the game, a listing that was swiftly removed but not of course before the internet had screens of it. There was also an in-game shot of the AFC Richmond logo in menus.
Now the official Ted Lasso account has confirmed the crossover by tweeting a picture of actor Jason Sudeikis in a motion capture rig, alongside the text: "Look out, Mario! You're not the only pixelated man with a mustache who never knows where the tube is taking him…"
Look out, Mario! You're not the only pixelated man with a mustache who never knows where the tube is taking him… pic.twitter.com/sDIS9VPDmhSeptember 20, 2022
The EA Sports FIFA account replied to this a mere 20 minutes later with an emoji of eyes.
So yep: believe. This FIFA entry will be the first to feature motion-captured managers as well as players, so watching Sudeikis gurn about should be pretty faithful. The third season of the show was announced in 2020 but doesn't yet have a release date, amid murmurs of production troubles and perfectionist rewrites. The FIFA 23 deal is also of-a-piece with what's been going on there though, with the series having secured the license to use real premier League teams as well as AFC Richmond boasting a new kit designed by Nike.
We'll be getting Roy of the Rovers next. FIFA 23 is out 30 September, with early access for pre-orders, and will be the last EA game made under the FIFA license after a nearly three-decade partnership. EA is moving on with the series (opens in new tab) under the new branding of EA Sports FC (catchy), while FIFA huffs about how whatever it eventually makes will be "the best" (opens in new tab). That, at least, is the kind of positive attitude Lasso would admire.