When Jason Sudeikis thought about football in Kansas, he naturally turned to Wichita State University.
Not only did he bring back Shocker football – for a TV show – he made the team big winners in the Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso" and is happy to give a university in his home state a role in the new show.
“Ted Lasso” began streaming Aug. 14 with Sudeikis, a comedian/actor/writer with Kansas roots, starring as the titular character. Lasso is a college football coach who moves to coach fictional British soccer club AFC Richmond in the Premier League.
It is a fish-out-of-water comedy with Lasso as the earnest, slightly befuddled American who is confused about soccer rules, tie matches, the United Kingdom and driving in England.
He is not confused about Shocker football. He is shown wearing a Shocker logo in the first episode and highlights show him dancing with the football team. He wanted a Kansas school for the show, which explains his choice of Wichita State. In real life, Wichita State dropped football after the 1986 season.
“We got to use the logo and everything and I like the fact that they don’t have a football team — just like AFC Richmond is fake, too — which allows us to create this mythology for Ted,” Sudeikis told The Kansas City Star.
He told The Star he didn’t know that the school no longer plays football.
“They do now and they went undefeated last year,” Sudeikis said. “They won the Rose Bowl in 2019. So, if that gets on their Wikipedia page, then I think we’ve done something very important.”
Warner Bros. reached out to Wichita State Athletics through a licensing partner in August 2019. Wichita State granted permission to use its marks while preserving final approval on jerseys, shirts, etc. featuring the university.
Apple TV+ is a subscription streaming service. New episodes of “Ted Lasso” drop on Friday.