Keep calm and pick a side

Creating history & increasing viewership by 91%

For years, brands have been trying to engage Americans in the English Premier League. Many millions of dollars have been spent trying to gain traction around ‘the beautiful game’. All attempts have failed. So, when NBC Sports Network secured exclusive rights to broadcast Premier League soccer in the US, they turned to Maxus USA for help.

We realised that soccer lovers worldwide become fanatical because they love their team, not just the game. So NBC needed to move the conversation away from the beautiful game and its biggest stars and instead start talking about passionate allegiances.

We started in the Premier League’s biggest market, New York City. New York is a city of neighbourhoods. Using this as the hook, we carved New York into districts and affiliated them with Premier League teams. The Upper East Side became Manchester United, the Bronx was Aston Villa and so on. Then we focused team messaging within that district. Posters, British taxis (which offered free rides) and subway trains in team colours encouraged residents to pick a side.

We also ran local parties at pubs where fans could initiate their neighbours. On television, we gave people more information on their team, because to know your team is to love them. And we reached out to the rest of America via an online Team Picker, suggesting teams based on people’s Facebook activity. Then we aired “An American in London”, a spoof video starring Jason Sudeikis as a US coach running Tottenham Hotspur.