The NFL is, by a wide margin, the most popular sport in the United States. Despite its marketing and ratings prowess, the league continues its efforts to expand its fanbase. This includes reaching out to Latinos (where fútbol is another sport) and expanding globally (this season the NFL will be playing five games in England and Germany.)
Also, having Amazon Prime Video stream Thursday Night Football games attracts a younger more digitally savvy audience. Perhaps, another marketing strategy should be having singer-songwriting superstar Taylor Swift in attendance at more games. Swift was seen at the last two Kansas City Chiefs games, amplifying viewer interest in a social event with her legion of fans known as “Swifties”.
There had been rumours swirling that Taylor Swift had been seeing Kansas City Chiefs eight-time all-pro tight end Travis Kelce. The widespread speculation was confirmed on September 24, when the 12-time Grammy Award winner was seen at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium alongside Kelce’s mother. Throughout the game, Fox, which televised the contest, repeatedly showed Swift cheering in a luxury suite. Taylor Swift’s appearance came during a break of her blockbuster concert tour called the Eras Tour. During the tour, Swift performed at Arrowhead Stadium on July 7-8.
The late Sunday afternoon game, branded as “America’s Game of the Week”, reported the game had averaged 24.3 million viewers, the most watched television program of the week. Despite the strong audience, the viewing was off by 8% compared to the corresponding game last season (a marquee matchup between quarterbacks Tom Brady of Tampa Bay and Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay). Last season, “America’s Game of the Week” averaged 24.1 million viewers, making it the most-watched TV program for the 14th straight year.
One reason for the ratings falloff was the game was lopsided, with Kansas City leading the Chicago Bears 34-0 at halftime, before coasting to a 41-10 victory. In the game, Kelce also scored a touchdown. In a postgame interview, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Jr., after learning Swift was in attendance, made sure Kelce would score.
Swift’s appearance also had a halo effect on Kelce and the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. For example:
Fanatics reported a 400% increase in Kelce’s jersey sales which put him in the top 5 players in the NFL.
Kelce’s podcast with his brother Jason (another NFL player), called New Heights, ranked first on Apple’sAAPL -0.4% charts. Kelce added 383,000 new followers on his Instagram account. Stubhub reported a threefold increase in Chiefs ticket searches. The Chiefs sold more tickets in a single season since the start of the 2023 season.
According to Taboola, Swift and Kelce have been dominating the most-read-about entertainment topics: Taylor Swift is the #1 entertainment story and Travis Kelce is #2.
Taylor Swift’s electrifying performance during the NFL season generated a staggering $332 million in revenue, marking a significant milestone in the league’s entertainment partnerships. The pop sensation dating Hall of Fame tight end Travis Kelce has been a game-changer, both in terms of viewership and economic impact.
Swift’s appeal transcends demographics, drawing in millions of fans from various age groups and backgrounds. Her star power, combined with the massive platform of the NFL, created a perfect storm of entertainment that captivated audiences worldwide. From die-hard football enthusiasts to casual viewers, Swift’s relationship and showing up at games became a must-watch event, driving up viewership numbers and subsequently boosting advertising revenue for the league.
Merchandise sales, streaming royalties, and ticket sales for her subsequent concerts all experienced a substantial surge following her NFL appearance. The exposure provided by such a high-profile event catapulted Swift even further into the global spotlight, solidifying her status as one of the most influential figures in popular culture.
Taylor Swift’s collaboration with the NFL proved to be a masterstroke, generating a staggering $332 million in revenue and leaving an indelible mark on the intersection of sports and entertainment. As the league continues to evolve.