As the Kansas City Chiefs took on the New York Jets on Sunday night, the game was closely followed by an unlikely set of new football enthusiasts: Swifties.
Pop music icon Taylor Swift was spotted cheering from a star-studded suite at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, alongside fellow celebrities Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Sophie Turner, Sabrina Carpenter, Hugh Jackman, and Antoni Porowski.
But more than the action on the field, where the Chiefs narrowly beat the Jets 23-20, what Swift’s fans were really excited about were snippets of the pop star’s reactions to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, whom Swift is rumored to be dating.
The 12-time Grammy Award winner has proven to bring a palpable economic impact wherever she goes, with her ongoing Eras Tour projected to generate nearly $5 billion in consumer spending in the U.S. alone. She is currently on a break from the tour, which resumes in November in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
As many Swifties find themselves intersecting with football fandom for the first time and teaching one another the rules of the game, the NFL is leaning hard into the new attention.
When the Chiefs scored a touchdown, Sunday Night Football on NBC posted a clip on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, of the winning moment with a split screen of Swift cheering.
NBC also used Swift's “Welcome to New York” as a soundtrack for its promotional video before the Chief-Jets game. The video, posted on X on Friday, was captioned: “Taylor Made for Sunday Night.”
And last week—after Swift made a surprise appearance at a game between the Chiefs and the Chicago Bears at Kansas City’s home stadium, where she was spotted in a suite watching the game with Kelce’s mother—the league changed its bio on X to “NFL (Taylor’s Version)”—a reference to the albums that Swift has been re-recording over the last two years. After Sunday’s game, the NFL’s Instagram bio was changed to: “chiefs are 2-0 as swifties.”
Ian Trombetta, senior vice president of social and influencer marketing at the NFL, said Swift has an “open invitation” to all future games.
Swift’s apparent new love interest has turned into a much-needed marketing boost for the NFL, which, like many other sports leagues, has been struggling to make fans out of a younger generation with significantly lower interest in sports.
In the three days after Swift’s appearance at the Sept. 24 game, ticketing platform Stubhub saw a 175% increase for the Chiefs-Jets game—now the second-highest selling game of the NFL season. The total audience for the game exceeded 24 million, making it the most-watched NFL broadcast of the week, amid spikes in interest from women aged 12-49 (not coincidentally Swift’s primary fan demographic).
The dating rumors have also sparked interest in Kelce, who gained over a million Instagram followers over the past week. Meanwhile, according to fan merchandise company Fanatics, Kelce’s merchandise sales have increased 400%.
It remains to be seen how long the budding romance will continue to fuel viewership for the NFL—Swifties know all too well how quickly sentiments can shift from shipping her with a new beau to shunning an ex.
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