By now, nearly everyone has logged onto social media and encountered the buzz around pop music icon Taylor Swift and her supposed romance with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Swift's recent presence at two Chiefs games ignited a significant surge of interest among fans, networks and the NFL — benefiting football, the Chiefs and even Kelce himself.
There is no doubt Swift has a dedicated fanbase. In North American ticket sales alone, the Eras Tour has already generated $2.2 billion in revenue. She is an absolute powerhouse in the music industry and arguably one of the most famous people in the world. So, it should come as no surprise that her recent appearances at Chiefs games has intrigued her so-called Swifties.
Swift's presence at the Chiefs games has encouraged many of her fans — particularly women — to show a newfound interest in a male- dominated game. As an avid football fan and Swiftie, I see nothing but positives.
News surrounding Swift and Kelce began in July when Travis told his brother Jason Kelce on their podcast “New Heights” that he’d made a friendship bracelet with his phone number on it to give to Swift at her concert, but was unable to meet her before or after the show.
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Rumors of the two dating began to swirl and a couple days before the Chicago Bears played the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, Travis Kelce appeared on "The Pat McAfee Show" and commented on the rumors.
"I told her that I've seen her rock a stage in Arrowhead and she might have to come see me rock the stage at Arrowhead," Kelce said on the show. "We'll see what happens in the near future."
A few days later, Swift is spotted at Arrowhead, sitting in a suite next to Kelce’s mother. Swift and the tight end were then seen leaving together after the game in a convertible and are reported to have rented out the rooftop of a local Kansas City restaurant, where they spent time with fellow Chiefs players and their significant others.
From then on, Chiefs ticket sales began to rise as fans scrambled for tickets in hopes Swift would make an appearance at the next game. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Vivid Seats site had a 173% increase in traffic for the Chiefs-Jets game page in the wake of Swift's Arrowhead Stadium sighting.
Furthermore, Kelce's jersey secured a place among the top five in NFL jersey sales on Sept. 24, with a staggering 400% surge in sales across the Fanatics network of sites, including NFLShop.com.
On the digital front, the Chiefs' social media following experienced remarkable growth, with an increase of over 200,000 followers, while Kelce's own follower count had skyrocketed 1.1 million as of Oct 8, according to Bleacher Report.
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In turn, an average of nearly 27 million people tuned into the Kansas City Chiefs-New York Jets game, where Swift made another appearance, making it the most-watched Sunday TV program since the Super Bowl. Around 9:30 p.m. in the second quarter of the game, the audience peaked at 29.2 million viewers and the biggest demographic gains were among girls ages 12 to 17, women 18 to 24 and women older than 35.
For comparison, the 2022 World Series commanded less than half the audience, with 12.8 million viewers in the final Game 6 of the series.
The Taylor Swift effect is no joke, and it has brought a new, vibrant audience to a great sport.
Sports would not be nearly what they are today without female viewership and following, and NFL fans should be happy to see others showing appreciation for the game through learning and watching. Countless dads across the country have been begging their daughters to watch football with them for years and now it is finally happening thanks to Swift.
Molly Joseph (she/her) is a junior studying journalism with a minor in sports marketing and management.