Jake’s Takes: The NFL’s Swift Revolution

February 2, 2024

Jake’s Takes: The NFL’s Swift Revolution

It’s amazing what the 2023-2024 NFL season brought. Star rookies, incredible comeback tales, late round draft steals, and… Taylor Swift? 

The Taylor Swift “Phenomenon” is the perfect case study of the social media generation absolutely losing its mind over something that has existed time and time again. Make no mistake, Taylor Swift was a generational star long before she started dating the Chiefs’ goofy, HOF-bound tight end Travis Kelce. And for all the people out there complaining that she latched onto him for his celebrity status – give me a break. In terms of star power, she’s so far ahead of Kelce it’s almost laughable to suggest otherwise. 

In sports terms, she’s about as far ahead of Travis Kelce in terms of global recognition as Travis Kelce is from the average singer/songwriter. Does her constant presence on TV, particularly during games, rub some fans the wrong way? Yes. But while people are busy complaining about her exposure on national television, the stories grow and the NFL is raking in millions and millions of dollars by her mere presence at games. 

The NFL, ultimately, is a business. Their business is making money. So when the world’s most popular performer is dating one of their biggest and most marketable stars – of course they’re going to capitalize. She’s going to be captured on camera at every conceivable moment. And to be honest – unless the camera’s are focused on her instead of being focused on the game at hand, the NFL is wise to showcase her as much as feasibly possible. 

Then there’s this weird thing about the fans' abject hatred of Taylor Swift. It’s not rational in most cases and there’s no having a logical argument with an irrational person.

Point 1: She doesn’t want all the eyes on her

This is ultimately a money grab opportunity for the NFL. So if you’re mad at someone, get mad at them. During a CBS broadcast of the Baltimore Ravens loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the cameras panned to Swift celebrating her boyfriend’s touchdown (among other moments). One particular moment stood out, as Swift can be seen clearly mouthing off to the cameras “Go away!” She’s not interested in being shown instead of the game. She just wants to celebrate Kelce (who is absolutely eviscerating teams in the playoffs at the moment).

Point 2: She’s a revenue-generating machine… of course the NFL wants that!

Apex Marketing Group is a US-based branding, consulting and analytics firm. They recently dropped calculations on how much money the “Swifty” media frenzy has actually brought the NFL. 

Swift’s relationship with Travis Kelce, and her mere appearances at Chiefs games, has generated over $330 million in equivalent brand value for the Chiefs and the NFL. She’s a whole economy driver, on her own. 

Is it a coincidence that this season saw the NFL’s highest female viewership numbers since 2000? Probably not. Is it a coincidence that Travis Kelce’s jersey sales skyrocketed 400% within days of Swift going to her very first Chiefs game? Probably not. Is it a coincidence that the lipstick Swift was wearing while kissing Travis Kelce after the AFC Championship game is now sold out at Sephora? Probably not. 

Why some NFL fans have such an issue with it is frankly confusing. Tom Brady was married to one of the world’s most influential supermodels in Gisele Bündchen. Their relationship spanned 13 years, she was a fixture at most of his games, she was shown quite often on TV and (like Swift) she didn’t need her NFL boyfriend to support her. Since 2001, Bündchen has been one of the highest-paid models… in the entire world. Like Swift, she didn’t “need” Tom Brady. And I could never recall anyone lambasting her on social media for her support of Brady either. 

So in my humble opinion – you might as well leave Taylor and Travis alone. Unless, of course, you’re interested in checking out some of their betting props for the Super Bowl. Since you can now bet on Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce to get engaged, because of course you can. Anticipating a surge in interest spurred by the buzz surrounding Swift's tie to this year's Super Bowl in Las Vegas, sportsbooks are rolling out a range of non-football-related "prop" bets centered on her and Kelce. From speculating on the couple's appearance together in a commercial to other off-field antics, these wagers are expected to draw considerable attention and engagement.

At the end of the day, Taylor Swift is just good business. And if you’re the NFL right now – business is booming.