The National Football League (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift’s impact on NFL views and merchandise sales

Kansas City Chiefs’ tight-end Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift’s love story has been a media frenzy since the couple debuted their relationship in late September. The singer made a surprise appearance at Kelce’s game on September 24, 2023, and since then Swift has been spotted sporting  the Chiefs’ colours at many of his games. Further, while performingKarma” in Argentina, Swift changed her iconic lyrics to “Karma is the guy on the Chiefs coming straight home to me.”

Many Swifties are now football fans, cheering for Swift’s boyfriend on the field.   Demographics indicate a clear spike in female viewers of NFL games, with Roku stating there was an astonishing 63% increase in female viewers aged 18–49 during the first game she attended. Further, Kelce’s social media presence grew exponentially, his podcast with his brother Jason Kelce rose to the number one spot on Apple’s podcast charts and gained 400,000 followers on Instagram. Fanatics reported a 400% increase in Travis Kelce’s merchandise as well. 

While many are supportive of the couple, there are a few football fans critical of Swift, claiming she is ruining the game.  As Swift sang, “the haters are going to hate.” But her impact on NFL game views, ticket sales, and merchandise sales is impressive. A New York Times article, highlighting how much Swift is shown at football games, found that the cameras cut away to Swift in the stands for approximately 25 seconds per broadcast. Moreover, several critics are noting that male celebrities like Drake who attends Toronto Raptors games often do not receive the same hate that Swift does. The contrast between how the two celebrities are treated by the media shines a light on the potential sexism Swift is facing. 

As a part of my investigation into Swift and Kelce’s relationship, I recruited one of Mt. A’s resident swifties to share their opinions on the king of Swift’s heart. A dedicated fan of both Swift and Kelce, Miranda Webber said this on the subject, “Taylor has undoubtedly had a massive effect on the NFL.” She explained how the pairing has skyrocketed media coverage of the NFL and that the international coverage it receives is changing how America is viewed globally. She highlighted further, saying how the United States has been trying to infiltrate globally as they have a view of exceptionalism. While some of their previous attempts have been successful, she said that “they have not been nearly as successful as adding Taylor to the roster.” Webber went on to explain her thoughts about if the NFL has benefited Swift, “I would argue that it really has not. As I said, the global phenomenon and national success story [Swift] does not need any more help with her fame; the NFL could use her.” 

Likewise, Webber elaborated on some of the negative effects Swift has dealt with, “she is being persecuted, yet again, as a human. Each game, there are new critiques of her success, her capabilities, her love life, her intentions, etc. As a woman with success in American popular culture, she is constantly being painted as a villain.” Lastly, she concluded her thoughts by saying that “it is not our position to judge. We should simply wish them well, equally— or else Karma’s gonna track us down.”

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