When hit TV series Welcome to Wrexham premiered in the fall of 2022, few could have predicted that the show would help grow the popularity of soccer across the United States. But indeed it has, as well as creating a passionate fanbase of Wrexham supporters throughout North America.
So, what measurable impact has Wrexham had thus far? First, Wrexham jerseys are sold out. In fact, co-owner Ryan Reynolds told the BBC today that 24,000 shirts have been sold since last summer, most of which were mailed to North America.
Second, the number of Americans flying to Wales to see Wrexham in person has skyrocketed. Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson has seen that, in person.
“It happens a lot when we return from training,” Parkinson told the BBC. “There are people taking pictures. I’ve had chats with people who have come from far and wide. People clearly enjoyed the documentary.”
Third, Wrexham viewing numbers have helped boost FA Cup TV ratings for ESPN+.
US soccer fans flock to Wales
Fueled by the success of the Disney Bundle, which offers Wrexham fans in the United States the hit Welcome to Wrexham series as well as Wrexham games on ESPN+, Americans are flocking to Wales.
Joe Bickerton, a member of the local Wrexham County Borough Council, said, “We had a couple from Ohio in the other day, we’ve had people from New York and Los Angeles tell us ‘we’ve seen Wrexham posters in our neighborhood.’ It’s incredible. That kind of marketing is priceless.”
In the Wrexham club shop, the visitors book has signatures of fans from across the United States, including Texas, Phoenix and Indianapolis.
Meanwhile, soccer fans Tanner and Paulina Weeks were at the Racecourse Ground this week. The couple traveled from Little Rock, Arkansas.
“We fell in love with the [Welcome to Wrexham] story,” Tanner Weeks told the BBC, with wife Paulina adding, “Without the documentary, we wouldn’t know a thing about Wrexham. It’s 100% why we’ve become fans.
“I feel like I know all the players because of Welcome to Wrexham.
“Rob and Ryan have embraced Wrexham and they’ve given us the opportunity to do the same. We’re going back home in a couple of days but we’re already making plans to return.”
We’ve heard many similar stories of Americans traveling to Wales to attend games in person at the Racecourse.
Wrexham and popularity of soccer is intertwined
Welcome to Wrexham is helping grow the popularity of soccer in the United States, even if it’s only on a casual basis. From personal experience, some of my family members and friends who had no interest in soccer have watched the series. They were so captivated with Welcome to Wrexham that they’ve been watching Wrexham’s games in the FA Cup, and have been asking me whether they’ll get promoted, or not.
In speaking with other soccer journalists, many of them share similar stories.
When you consider the millions of Americans who have watched Welcome to Wrexham, the series is having an impact. New soccer fans are born, even if they are casual fans at first. After all, becoming a casual fan is the first step in the journey to eventually falling in love with the sport.
Whether Wrexham get promoted or not, their story is a success. Appearing on SportsCenter, NFL pre-game shows and FX, the club has helped create new soccer fans in the US. And that’s never a bad thing. The more soccer fans in this country, the better — no matter what team they support.
Wrexham’s next game in the FA Cup is a replay against Sheffield United, live on ESPN+ during the week of February 5th.
Photo: IMAGO / Pro Sports Images
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