Ava’s Angle:  Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce are impeccable for sports markets 

Pictured above is a photo of Travis Kelce kissing the Lombardi trophy after he won last years Super Bowl. Kelce when asked on if he has been speaking with Taylor Swift this season said “I’ve seen you rock the stage at Arrowhead and you might have to come see me rock the stage at Arrowhead and see which one is a little more lit,” Photo from @KillaTrav Instagram

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce have broken the internet with their speculated blossoming relationship. It became very real when Swift appeared at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri for the Kansas City Chiefs-Chicago Bears game on Sunday, Sept. 24. She was photographed and filmed in Kelce’s suite next to his mother, Donna Kelce, which made the FOX Sports broadcasts. It was later confirmed that she accepted an invite from Kelce to attend the Sunday afternoon matchup. 

“I threw the ball in her court and you know, I told her, ‘I’ve seen you rock the stage at Arrowhead and you might have to come see me rock the stage at Arrowhead and see which one is a little more lit,’” said Kelce during an interview with ESPN’s Pat McAfee. 

All of the talk started back in July when Swift played a show at Arrowhead Stadium on the Eras Tour. The Chiefs’ star tight end was in attendance and revealed after the concert that he attempted to give Swift a friendship bracelet with his phone number on it, but was unsuccessful. Kelce said that Swift does not talk or greet people before and after shows as she has to save her voice for the 44 songs she performs during the three-hour concert.  

Fans trading friendship bracelets has become a tradition at Swift’s concerts, inspired by a lyric on her song “You’re on Your Own, Kid” from her most recent album “Midnights.” In the lyric, Swift sings about how making friendship bracelets is a way to connect with others over a shared experience that they have. The idea behind these friendship bracelets exploded into a reality among mega-fans attending the Eras Tour, including the major celebrities in attendance. 

Fast forward to now: it’s actually happening, and Kelce did indeed score Swift. At the game, the pop star was fired up and was enjoying her time with Kelce’s mother and friends in the suite. Swift was one of the first to stand up and scream after Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw a touchdown pass to Kelce in the end zone. To say the least, it went viral.  

If you are wondering why this is all relevant for sports, let’s get into that. Swift is known as one of the most successful artists in history. The total gross revenue from Swift’s Eras Tour is over $1 billion. Her earnings from this tour were a whopping $300 million and she’s nowhere near finished as she begins her international tour legs across the world soon, which will continue well into 2024. The demand to see Swift live has skyrocketed.  

With Swift exposing her millions of fans to the NFL by making an appearance at Kelce’s game, it has benefited them both marketing-wise (a little more for Kelce and the Chiefs than anything else, as Swift’s market has basically peaked). 

This is everything that’s happened since Swift made her appearance at Sunday’s Chiefs-Bears game, also known as “the Taylor Swift effect:” 

  • Kelce’s merchandise sales spiked 400%  
  • Kelce’s jersey became a top five-selling jersey in the NFL 
  • 24.3 million viewers watched the Chiefs-Bears game, making it the most watched game this week, despite the 41-10 blowout by Kansas City 
  • 63% jump in female viewers ages 18-49 
  • Kelce gained 383,000 followers on Instagram 
  • Kelce’s podcast “New Heights” ranked No. 1 overall on Apple 
  • “Chiefs” searches on the web tripled 
  • Chiefs game ticket sales on StubHub tripled, selling more tickets in a single day since the start of the season 
  • Kelce had 7 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown against the Bears  

This is huge from the perspective of the NFL. The sport already seems as if it has reached its near top numbers of viewership and game attendance in the U.S., especially since game attendance has finally overcome pre-pandemic numbers. In 2022, nearly 97% of tickets were sold. The NFL has been expanding internationally in recent years by scheduling games at overseas locations. The NFL has already held games in Germany (800,000 people logged online to grab tickets in the 120,000 seat stadium) and London. ESPN reported that the league is now preparing for games in Brazil and Spain. All of this is motivated by the intent to expand and find new fans. The Super Bowl is also the most watched sporting event of the year and it brings the best gauge of the NFL’s broad appeal. The number of people that typically watch the Super Bowl varies within the 110 to 115 million range, which has remained fairly steady throughout the years.  

Then Swift came along and changed the entire game. Her appearance at Sunday’s Chiefs game drowned out one of the NFL’s largest annual announcements regarding who will headline the Super Bowl halftime show. On Sunday, the NFL revealed that Usher would play this year’s halftime show in February. Usually, this news breaks and stays in the media for the coming days as both the sports world and entertainment world collide. However, Swift showed up at Arrowhead and proceeded to heavily shift the media’s attention. Throughout the whole game, the cameras panned to Swift cheering next to Kelce’s mother. The timing of this is slightly ironic as well given that the NFL reportedly offered Swift to perform during the Super Bowl LVII halftime show last September, but she declined. 

Although this is a huge thing that the media is blowing out of the water, it is an insanely genius marketing strategy for both Swift and Kelce. They have been featured by every news outlet and the Swifies have gone berserk all over every social media platform. It has caused an absolute online frenzy and fans are eager to get more information on Swift and Kelce’s every move together. This exposes NFL fans to Swift and Swift’s younger female fans to the NFL. The TV views, the coverage from the media and both their personal accounts have been racking up huge numbers over the past week. This benefits both the sports and music industries. 

While we may never know exactly what is going on between Swift and Kelce, it was certainly an interesting NFL Sunday to say the least as they drove away after the game in the “Getaway Car.” Either way, the marketing and brand-building that this situation has resulted in has been like no other for the NFL, Kelce and Swift.  

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