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Swift's Super Bowl

How the pop star revolutionised American football


‘Swiftonomics’, the new term used to describe the 34-year-old pop star’s effect on the American economy. In 2023, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour boosted the US economy by a whopping 4.6 billion dollars, her tour being the first in history to surpass the one billion dollar mark in gross ticket sales. Swift has taken the world by storm, and with her dedicated fan base, known as the ‘Swifties,’ she’s managed to create a pseudo-influencer market amassing to what can now be described as the ‘Taylor Swift effect.’ But what relevance does this have to American football?

 

In December of 2023, Swift publicised her relationship with the Kansas City Chiefs NFL star Travis Kelce. However, their love story isn't just romance — it's a goldmine for the NFL. According to Global Edge, the NFL has experienced an unexpected surge in game viewership and merchandise sales. Following Swift's attendance at one of the Chiefs games, Kelce’s jersey sales saw a staggering 400 per cent increase practically overnight. But how much money has she made for the NFL? As of January 2024, Swift's presence has generated an estimated 331.5 million dollars in brand value for both the Chiefs and the NFL. In an unprecedented twist, the NFL has witnessed a remarkable 53 per cent increase in viewership among girls aged 12 to 17, a 34 per cent increase in female viewers above 35, and a 24 per cent increase in those aged 18 to 24 since the kick-off of the football season. This feat is especially impressive considering that Swift's screen time during Chiefs games has accounted for only about 0.46 per cent of all available screen time, with each appearance lasting no more than 24 seconds. So, it appears that Swift’s fans have also embraced Kelce — a phenomenon that works both ways, evident in the surge of Swift's following and monthly listeners. Her relationship with Kelce is an NFL fan’s ‘way in’ to Swift, bridging the gap between the music and sports fandom. Whilst there’s no way to prove a direct correlation, we can assume that Swift played a significant role in these figures.

 

Naturally, when news broke that the Kansas City Chiefs were Super Bowl bound, fans across the world were brimming with anticipation. Though a relatively foreign tradition for those of us outside the US, I’ve been told the quintessential Super Bowl experience consists of the revered trifecta: the game, the ads, and the half-time show. This year that trifecta had an added bonus — Taylor Swift. But the star didn’t perform at the half-time show, nor did she provide an extensive photo-op; in fact, she made up only about 0.36 per cent of the broadcast, 53 seconds of the four-hour broadcast to be exact. That’s it. Yet ‘Swifties’ flooded the stadium and flocked to their screens contributing to an all-time record viewership of the Super Bowl, reaching an astounding 123.7 million. The effect sent ripples all the way to St Andrews — students hosted viewing parties and packed the Dunvegan, with one keen spectator commenting, “I would like to thank Taylor Swift for introducing me to all these handsome football players.”


While I may not count myself among the ranks of ‘Swifties’, there's no denying one fact: the 'Taylor Swift effect' is a game changer. It appears that Swift’s impact extends beyond the realm of music and even transcends the game of football itself. She played a pivotal role in elevating the revenue and influence of the Super Bowl, introducing an entirely new fanbase to the sport while simultaneously exposing football enthusiasts to her own artistry. This fascinating crossover has amounted to a great success, and it’s just the beginning.


Image from Flickr

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