Olivia Ground is a third-year advertising major and writes “Liv, Laugh, Love” for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.
Taylor Swift is arguably revitalizing the NFL right now, much to the dismay of “sports bros” and Fox News anchors.
When Swift’s Era’s Tour performed in Kansas City in early July, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was in attendance. Kelce said on his “New Heights” podcast with his brother, Jason, that he was hoping to give Swift a friendship bracelet with his number on it.
Two months later, Swift was in attendance for a Chiefs game, sitting in a private suite with “Mama Kelce”, her “seemingly ranch” and chicken tenders, and causing a stir in sports media as podcasts and anchors alike tried to cram as many Swift-inspired puns as they could into their scripts.
The musical icon has 100.7 million monthly listeners on Spotify, in addition to being the second most streamed artist on Spotify worldwide. No one would disagree that Swift currently has one of the biggest fanbases, and that fanbase is very active online.
When Kelce was first spotted at the Era’s Tour and spoke about his experience on New Heights, fans joked online that Kelce would be the next “romantic partner” of Swift.
Rumors only spread further when fans noticed Swift with Kelce’s mom in a private suite, wearing a Kansas City jersey, seemingly yelling “let's f***ing go” when Kelce scored a touchdown. NFL fans were quick to post to social media and make jokes about Swifties watching more football that weekend than ever before. The NFL even changed their TikTok bio to feature the fact that Taylor was in attendance.
24.3 million people watched the Chicago Bears vs. Chiefs game once it was made known Swift was in attendance.When the Chiefs played the New York Jets this past Sunday,27 million people tuned in for the game, making it the second-most viewed game this season. The audience peaked at more than 29 million viewers in second quarter.
Viewership among teen girls spiked 53 percent from the season-to-date average of the first three weeks of Sunday Night Football, while the audience among women aged 18-24 was up 24 percent, and women 35+ increased 34 percent.
While the NFL wasn’t struggling for viewership before, this increase is certainly helping.As the NFL moves to more streaming platforms, the league has seena steady decrease in viewership year-to-year. In 2022, the average audience size was 16.7 million people, in 2021 the average audience size was 17.1 million.
Swift’s impact on the NFL didn’t stop at viewership numbers; Kelce’s jersey sales increased a staggering 400 percent. Kelce has over 383,000 new followers on his Instagram account. Following the first appearance, New Heights ranked No. one on Apple Music. When media outlets reported Swift would be in attendance in New York, TickPick reported online ticket prices soared from $83 to $119, a 40 percent increase, according to Forbes.
Like it or not, Taylor Swift’s impact is good for pro-football right now. Between social media searches and increased viewership, Swift’s impact will only be outdone by the Super Bowl. She is bringing in new fans and revitalizing a slowly-dying audience.
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