The Taylor Swift Effect: Turning Swifties Into Football Fans

Following the first leg of her record-breaking Eras Tour in the US, Taylor Swift is on top of the world. After making a 1.04 billion dollar revenue with 4.35 million tickets sold across 60 tour dates, Swift has millions of fans who follow her religiously. Anything she does receives an exorbitant amount of media attention, and her attendance at a National Football League (NFL) game is no exception. While Swift has boosted the NFL’s standing in various ways, the media ponders the question: Is Taylor Swift ruining the NFL?

Since Swift was seen on September 24, 2023, at the Kansas City Chiefs game in support of her newest boyfriend, two-time Super Bowl Champion and tight end, Travis Kelce, the NFL has gained millions of new fans. Every week since Swift’s first attendance, “Swiftes” are tuning in to watch the Chiefs, hoping to get a glimpse of Swift on the screen. The NFL audience, one that is mostly viewed by males, saw a 53 percent and 35 percent increase in female viewers, ages 12 to 17 and 18 to 24, respectively. Moreover, Travis Kelce has experienced a 400 percent increase in sales for his jersey and has seen a rapid increase in commercial production on television and social media platforms since going public with Swift.

122 million dollars should explain the “Taylor Swift Effect.” Her presence at NFL games has influenced her fandom, whose ability to boost sales and engagement has been prominent in the last few months. It certainly was a surprise to many that Swift’s attendance at NFL games took the already world-acclaimed NFL and made it even more popular. The surge in NFL views has caused a shift in game coverage, diverting the focus from the sport to Taylor Swift. Swifties are enjoying this opening to interact with a new sport — football fans, not so much.

Some football fans have taken to social media accusing Swift of “ruining the NFL.” They feel that too much attention is being diverted away from the game and to Swift, who is just sitting in the stands to support Kelce and the Chiefs. An article from Salve Regina’s Mosaic Newspaper complained about Swift’s attendance at games taking away from the actual football content:

“[It] has been taken too far and there is too much coverage of Swift. It seems as though half of the NFL’s posts on social media are about Taylor Swift or making small nods to the singer. If I go to watch a highlight reel, I don’t need to see Taylor Swift. If someone makes a good defensive tackle, I don’t need a reference to one of her songs.”

As a Swiftie, I have found myself tuning into football games which I would have previously ignored. I think Taylor Swift and the NFL’s attention to her attendance at games has made football more appealing to so many Swifties like myself. The increase in viewers and purchases has boosted the NFL as a business, while also diversifying its viewers. Swift’s appearance on the NFL has made its social media content production appealing to major groups. Though some may disagree with the singer’s presence in the NFL, she shares in an interview with “Time Magazine” that she is simply there to watch the game:

“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.”

Her indifference about the attention she gets during these games reveals why she is there — to support Kelce.

“I’m just there to support Travis,” Swift says. “I have no awareness of if I’m being shown too much and pissing off a few dads, Brads, and Chads.”

So to answer the question posed by the media, no, I do not think Taylor Swift is ruining the NFL. Some may be dissatisfied with the attention she is receiving, however, Swift has brought positive attention, profitable business, and a diverse selection of audience to the NFL. Overall, the
“Taylor Swift effect” has made “sparks fly” for Travis Kelce, the NFL, and its fans. And when the Chiefs take the field for the AFC Championships on Sunday, you can bet the Swifties will be tuning in.