Taylor Swift provides NFL new fan base
Annika Herko | Thursday, September 28, 2023
87 + 13 = 100, and the NFL is giving Travis Kelce an A+ for his ‘new friend’.
During a football weekend that was full of headlines, it was the appearance of Taylor Swift next to Travis Kelce’s mother, Donna, at the Chiefs game that stole the show. The Fox broadcast would often cut to updates of Swift during the game (who appeared to be having a fantastic time) and everyone from Patrick Mahomes to Bill Belicheck has been asked about it.
That’s cool, but what’s the big deal? Celebrities show up to sporting events all the time, and it doesn’t dominate the media for days. Dwayne Johnson and Offset went to watch Coach Prime and Colorado, but no one wrote a Wall Street Journal article about it.
Since Sunday, Kelce’s jersey sales have been up 400% and the Chiefs-Bears battle (OK, smackdown) was the most watched game of the week. People weren’t tuning in to watch the Bears get destroyed. (If they were, they would have watched the Broncos-Dolphins game.) They were tuning in to see Swift. That growth in ratings (and probably jersey sales) came primarily from one demographic: young females.
Now, I’ve been a Taylor Swift fan and a football fan my entire life. However, it’s pretty unusual for a 14-year old girl wearing a Speak Now T-Shirt to be shouting at the TV because the referees missed a blatantly obvious roughing the passer call. But that is exactly what the NFL needs if they want to continue to grow their fan base and, more importantly, their revenue.
Young females are not a historically strong demographic for the NFL. If they keep the attention on whether she will be at the next game or have reporters continue to ask Jason Kelce for updates on his brother’s love life, they keep these new fans engaged. They have the opportunity to create a whole new generation of fans who started watching (or even going to) Chiefs games, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite singer, and ended up writing their own ‘Love Story’ with the game of football. The commercial practically writes itself.
The NFL has basically won over the American man. They’re buying tickets and are all in on their fantasy teams. I went to several baseball games this summer, and guys were talking about football in the stands. Consider the market basically cornered.
The NFL has tried to expand their reach west into Europe and south into Mexico, but there’s a bit of a problem. They already have a sport called football everywhere else in the world. ‘American football’ just doesn’t roll off the tongue.
So who else is out there to bring into their fan base? Young females who love Taylor Swift and are way too invested in her love life. Especially since all of this attention costs the NFL exactly $0, they’d be crazy to not try and capitalize on Swift Mania. Get ready for game announcers to start integrating song lyrics into commentary and for fans with witty Swift-themed posters to be featured on TV.
The NFL already has Swift-fever. The only remaining question is how will they use that to their best advantage.