The Taylor Swift effect: How the music icon is impacting the NFL

Swift even has custom merch to show her support to her NFL boyfriend Travis Kelce (Picture: AP)

She’s dominated the music industry for years – and now Taylor Swift is making waves in the sports world, too.

The pop superstar made a surprise appearance at an NFL game in September to cheer on her boyfriend Travis Kelce for the first time when his team, the Kansas City Chiefs, took on the Chicago Bears.

Since then, the 34-year-old has been seen in the crowd at several Chiefs games – often dressed in the team’s colours of red and white alongside Kelce’s family.

Swift celebrates as Kelce scored a touchdown in the Chiefs-Bills game on Sunday (Picture: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

The so-called ‘Taylor Swift effect’ has led to inflated viewing numbers for the NFL, and brought in a new female audience.

The Chiefs are in the running to make it to the Super Bowl, which takes place on 11 February, leading some fans to speculate that Swift could be in attendance.

The singer would have to make a speedy flight back to the US from Japan, though, as she is playing a show in Tokyo as part of her Eras World Tour the day before.

A new audience for NFL

Swift’s first appearance at a Chiefs game against the Bears in September was watched by 27 million people – making it the most-watched Sunday show since Super Bowl LVII in February.

Swift’s appearances have brought in a new audience (Picture: AP)

Her presence has drawn in a new female audience to the game, with female viewership rocketing by 37%.

The number of girls aged 12 to 17 watching NFL games has increased by 53%, leading some dads to joke that Swift has brought them closer to their young daughters.

One father said on X: ‘My 12-year-old daughter just asked me to point out Jason Kelce & it spurred an entire conversation about why lineman have the numbers they do. I love her beyond words, but the kid never cares about football. That was cool.’

Another dad wrote: ‘The Taylor Swift effect: My seven year old daughter is demanding we watch the KC/Miami game.’

Taylor has become a regular at Kansas City Chiefs games (Picture: AP)

It looks like the phenomenon isn’t stopping any time soon. 23 million people tuned in to watch the Chiefs-Dolphins game last weekend – a record number for a playoff game since 2016.

And it’s not just viewing figures that Swift is having an impact on.

At a September Chief-Jets game, interest in tickets on StubHub rocketed by 175%, making it the second-highest selling game of the season. The match was watched by more than 24 million.

The singer’s presence at the games has boosted the NFL’s brand value by $122 million through the increase in interest, according to MarketWatch data.

Swift and Kelce are rumoured to have started dating in July (Picture: Gotham/GC Images)

Swift told Time that she wasn’t always aware that she was being filmed during the games.

‘​​There’s a camera, like, a half-mile away, and you don’t know where it is, and you have no idea when the camera is putting you in the broadcast, so I don’t know if I’m being shown 17 times or once,’ she said. ‘I’m just there to support Travis’.

Not everyone’s a Taylor Swift fan

Some NFL fans have been disgruntled by Swift’s appearances at games.

Buffalo Bills fans booed the singer when she arrived at the Chiefs-Bills playoff game on Sunday. In response, Swift blew a kiss at the booing crowds.

Former NFL Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy said that Taylor Swift is ‘disenchanting people with sports’.

‘There’s so much on the outside coming in entertainment value and different things taking away from what really happens on the field,’ he told Fox News.

At the Golden Globes, host Jo Koy joked about the amount of airtime Swift got during NFL games.

‘​​The big difference between the Golden Globes and the NFL? On the Golden Globes, we have fewer camera shots of Taylor Swift. I swear, there’s just more to go to,’ Koy said.

Swift did not look happy when Jo Koy made a joke about her NFL appearances

Other fans have even said they want the Chiefs to be knocked out of the league because they think Swift is distracting from the game.

‘There’s a side of America that wants the Ravens to beat the Chiefs strictly because they are tired of seeing Taylor Swift every 5 mins during the game,’ one social media pundit wrote.

‘Baltimore has to beat the Chiefs. I can’t handle Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce coverage for two weeks at the Super Bowl,’ another wrote.

Most fans, though, ignored the backlash. ‘Nobody’s asking if Travis Kelce is distracting her [Swift] from a world tour,’ ESPN sports anchor Elle Duncan said on her podcast at the end of last year. And the exposure she is bringing speaks for itself.

A boost for Travis Kelce

Even Swift’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce, isn’t immune from the ‘Taylor Swift effect’.

Sales of Kelce’s jersey have rocketed (Picture: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

There’s been a 400% boost to his No. 87 jersey sales, and his social media following has exploded.

Kelce’s Instagram following ballooned to 3.5 million following Swift’s appearance at the Chiefs-Bears game in September.

He also gained 570,000 followers on TikTok and 25,000 on X.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *