How has the Taylor Swift effect boosted American football? | News

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Taylor Swift’s attendance at her first Kansas City Chiefs game on September 24 spawned an unexpected viewership surge among her fans, known as Swifties, and American football buffs.

The “Taylor Swift effect”, which has bestowed the singer with an economic Midas touch, propelling her to the position of one of the world’s highest-earning entertainers, seemed to take on a new life when she and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce started dating six months ago.

Sunday is Super Bowl LVIII, and there will probably be as many Swifties coming to catch a glimpse of Swift as sports fans coming to watch the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers play at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Taylor Swift KCC
Swift watches a regular season game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Bears at Arrowhead Stadium on September 24, 2023, in Kansas City [David Eulitt/Getty Images]

What is the Taylor Swift effect? 

Swift has built an economic power house around her music career. She is wildly popular with a huge fan base, and this has helped build a pseudo-influencer market known as the Taylor Swift effect.

This has not only boosted Swift’s brand value but has also helped bring new fans to the National Football League (NFL) , especially women and girls. Some experts have labelled this newfound fandom the “Swift bump”. This has led to a 20 percent increase in sponsorships. The NFL’s surge in female viewership cuts across different age demographics. Among teenage girls, NFL viewership has increased by 53 percent. Among the 18-24 age demographic, there has been an increase of 24 percent.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell welcomed the surge during a news conference before the Super Bowl. “Obviously, it creates a buzz,” he said. “It creates another group of young fans, particularly young women, that are interested in seeing why is she going to this game, why is she interested in this game besides Travis. She is a football fan.”

Even without the additional female fans, overall viewer numbers are up. According to NBC Sports, the game in which the Chiefs took on the New York Jets in October attracted 27 million people across all platforms, the highest number since February 2023’s Super Bowl LVII, which the Chiefs won.

How much has NFL revenue increased?

According to Apex Marketing, Swift has effectively generated an additional $331.5m in brand value for the Chiefs and NFL.

However, it’s not only the NFL that is profiting from the Taylor Swift effect. Those brands associated with Swift are also benefitting from her influence. Even the San Francisco 49ers are prospering.

Kristin Juszczyk, wife of 49ers’ fullback Kyle Juszczyk, designed a “Kelce jacket” for Swift that gained a huge amount of attention after Swift was spotted in January wearing the jacket, which resembles the Chiefs jersey of her beau.

According to Fanatics, an American manufacturer and online retailer of licensed sportswear, Kelce merchandise saw a 400 percent increase in sales after the first Chiefs game Swift attended.

Kelce jacket
Swift wears a Kristin Juszczyk-designed jacket that resembles Kelce’s football jersey as she arrives for an NFL wild-card playoff game between the Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins on January 13, 2024, in Kansas City [Ed Zurga/AP]

Many brands are seizing any opportunity they can to tether themselves to the Taylor Swift effect from Kansas City nail brand Hoopla to Ziploc, the maker of the sealable food bags. Kelce’s mother, Donna Kelce, 71, has landed a brand deal after being spotted carrying leftovers in a Ziploc bag. The Kelce matriarch has now secured a TV spot as Ziploc’s chief leftover officer, advocating against food waste.

According to Complex, an online pop culture magazine, the week after Swift was spotted wearing New Balance 550 sneakers, the brand saw a 25 percent increase in site traffic.

Why are sponsorship deals and and brand collaborations important?

Income from these sorts of deals is crucial for the league, and building a wide network of brands and sponsors will increase the NFL’s viewership and grant it access to bespoke audiences. Although Swift is not an official sponsor or brand collaborator with the NFL, the league has 37 sponsors for the 2023-2024 season. One of them, Gatorade, has been a sponsor for almost 40 years. YouTube is the most recent new sponsor as of 2023. According to the data analysis group, SponsorUnited, NFL sponsorship revenue was $2.35bn, 15 percent higher than last season.

As of last year, the NFL has been strategically broadening its popularity by undertaking more collaborations with fashion brands, especially those brands affiliated with artists. Such brands include menswear label OVO (October’s Very Own), co-founded by rapper Drake and set to feature rappers Benny the Butcher and Lil Wayne.

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