How Leicester City’s title-winning season has changed the Premier League forever

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Leicester City’s title-winning season has brought more fans to the sport and specifically to the Premier League than just about anything in our lifetime.

Against a backdrop of poor results in European competitions as well as the soccer superstars selecting Spain or Germany over England to play their football in — as well as Manchester United’s continued struggles, this season the Premier League needed something positive to focus on. And then came Leicester City’s incredible story.

Claudio Ranieri’s appointment was mocked when it was first made, while the subsequent departure of Esteban Cambiasso — who was given much credit by the media for the Foxes survival last season — made the club relegation favorites. For whatever reason, Ranieri’s short tenure as Greece national team manager was over-emphasized by many critics instead of the credible job he had done previously at any number of major European clubs.

SEE MORE: Leicester’s throwback style could fare well in the Champions League

The impact of Leicester’s title triumph on the Premier League itself is immeasurable. For example in the United States, publications such as The New York Times, Harper’s, GQ and Fortune have focused heavily on the Foxes title run while mainstream American news networks have covered Leicester City in the past few weeks as a global news story – one which connects with the American sensibilities of supporting the underdog and the little guy.

As I have circulated around the state of Florida the last few months, I have found far more interest in the Premier League than previously, even among fans of American soccer whose only connection to the sport were Orlando City SC, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers or another local club. In fact, many of the fans I have spoken to are those who previously were contemptuous of European soccer, seeing it as irrelevant to the American game. But now with the Foxes winning a title, it has generated a new enthusiasm and interest in the league among fans who found European soccer distant, predictable and dour.

Even among other professional associates of mine who don’t follow soccer, the Foxes have become an incredible story, with a few converted to the sport and the drama of the Premier League in the process. While in recent years, other European leagues have produced unlikely champions like Montpellier in France and Wolfsburg in Germany, the combination of the Premier League’s global TV reach, the penetration of the English language and the proliferation of mainstream media interest in this sport has made the Foxes trot to the title the single biggest boost for the Premier League and club soccer in modern times.

Around the globe, the Foxes march toward a Premier League title has been the focus of so much coverage. BBC World News, CNN International, Al- Jazeera and other international news agencies with massive television penetration worldwide have run regular features on the excitement generated by the Foxes around the globe.

The Leicester story has brought more and more fans to the Premier League, turning the world’s most watched annual team sporting competition into the neutral’s favorite one. Will the Foxes’ success and the way the story captivated so many around the world further boost the Premier League into the stratosphere of popularity? Only time will tell, but the early returns are very encouraging.

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