Apple TV Plus launched on November 1st, 2019, but odds are that you (along with almost two-thirds of other Apple TV Plus customers) aren’t actually paying for it, thanks to Apple’s lengthy free trials. But Apple may have finally found the carrot to convince people to actually shell out their hard-earned cash for another streaming service: the upcoming second season of sleeper hit Ted Lasso, which is set to debut on TV Plus on July 23rd — just after Apple’s free subscriptions for its earliest customers end on July 1st.
It’s no secret that Apple TV Plus has a paying subscriber problem: as of January, research firm MoffettNathanson noted that approximately 62 percent of TV Plus subscribers are enjoying Apple’s free ride. The free trials for the service were originally intended to last a year, but Apple has kept extending them — first to February and then to July. The company still offers a free year for new customers, but July 1st will be the day that anyone who signed up at or shortly after launch runs out of time.
Apple has been trying to grow TV Plus into a hit, but some of its highest-profile shows (like The Morning Show or See) failed to be the big, breakout hits that Apple was hoping for. And the ongoing extensions of the free trial period have started to feel like Apple was fishing for a big enough hit to hook customers into signing up — and somehow, it seems that the wildly popular Ted Lasso might be it.
The first season of the show (which is based on a series of Jason Sudeikis commercials) debuted quietly last summer, but the charming cast, heartfelt storytelling, and sheer optimism of the series have resonated with fans in the past several months. It’s also won Apple some of its streaming service’s most prestigious awards, including a Golden Globe for Sudeikis’ role as the titular coach.
The show is by far the biggest hit for Apple’s service, which makes the upcoming second season Apple’s best shot for hooking subscribers. That’s especially true since Ted Lasso’s second season will offer 12 episodes, which could guarantee several months of customers given Apple’s weekly releases — enough, perhaps, for Apple to get subscribers on board with another big marquee show like Mythic Quest or its upcoming Foundation adaptation.