A hottie for a new audience, a key issue for the 2024 presidential election… How Taylor Swift is shaking up the NFL

The star of the Super Bowl, one of the biggest sporting events on the planet, won’t be on the field this season, or even attending the halftime festivities. There will be a star in the stands for the meeting between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, February 11, and her name is Taylor Swift. Selected as the Personality of the Year 2023 by Time Magazine, the pop star has become one of the faces of King Sports in the United States, thanks to her romance with Chiefs player Travis Kelce. A relationship that goes far beyond the simple framework of celebrity news, and that has brought the NFL into a new era.

Having become an avid fan of the Kansas City Chiefs since the formalization of her relationship with Travis Kelce, Taylor Swift has established herself as a must-see for the cameras and fans. “There have always been stars who have been attracted to the NFLExplains Alain Mattei, editor-in-chief of the site specializing in American football touchdown actu and W9 commentator. This is the biggest. This increases the effect manifold.,

NFL, Taylor’s version

Exclusive media front office Sports assures that Taylor Swift alone has enabled a cumulative valuation of more than $330 million for the Chiefs and the NFL in five months. Sales of her partner’s jersey at retailer Fanatics increased 400% in the 24 hours following the singer’s first appearance in the box at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on September 25.

Beyond the economic fallout, seeing Taylor Swift as the NFL’s new “darling” is a sociological upheaval for a league where “A masculinity and even a masochism that we don’t have anywhere else”, Jean-Baptiste Guégan, expert on sports geopolitics and expert on North American leagues, decrypts. “It’s just men everywhere. We’re a far cry from other leagues like baseball, basketball and even football. That includes Taylor Swift.”

The singer offers the NFL an audience it has never been able to reach in its long history: the female public. American football viewership among women has reached a record.

“Taylor Swift takes the NFL out of its normal territory, out of its ‘traditional America.’ A third of the United States will watch the event live, and a whole young group will be there because it’s Taylor Swift, and because “She brought back with her people who would never have been interested in it.”

Jean-Baptiste Guégan, expert on geopolitics of sport

On FranceInfo: Sports

According to business magazine Forbes, the number of young girls aged 12 to 17 watching the NFL has increased by +53% and the number of 18-24 year olds watching the NFL has increased by +24% compared to the previous season. Chiefs’ final matches broke all viewership records. In late January, the conference finals against Baltimore were watched by 55.5 million viewers on CBS (+17% from last season). The broadcaster had not recorded so many viewers outside the Super Bowl since the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. “It kind of connected Taylor fans and NFL fans.In late November, the NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, happily accepted. It’s great for the league to benefit from this attention.,

American football, a troubled reflection of the “American soul”

Taylor Swift breaks the code with her aura, but what shows is her romance with Travis Kelce, an iconic NFL star, even before he became “Taylor Swift’s boyfriend.” “We have never had a global icon who is so interested inAnalyzes Jean-Baptiste Guégan. And Travis Kelce is a winner with real personality. It’s a contrasting vision of the star pairing with legend Tom Brady and model Gisele Bündchen. There, what one supports does not fade away, far from it, and the other is not the average American, quite the contrary. “He is a progressive in a complex and divided America.”

Kansas City player Travis Kelce holds hands with his girlfriend, pop star Taylor Swift, after the Chiefs' win against the Baltimore Ravens on January 28, 2024 (Julio Cortez/AP)

“The NFL is the American soulHe continues. It is a major sports league that reflects the conservative image of America. Just remember Colin Kaepernick (Player criticized by Donald Trump for kneeling during the US anthem to condemn racism and police violence against the African-American community), There is no room for Black Lives Matter or protesters. It is the most popular sport, but primarily in the Midwestern United States. We may be at the beginning of an NFL reestablishment that is almost a godsend. But it also causes anxiety.”

One of the keys to the presidential election?

The Swift–Keuls phenomenon is also the interference of politics in one of the most consuming obsessions in the middle of a presidential election year in the United States. On the one hand, the biggest star of the moment, a cash and influence machine. On the other hand, the number one entertainment icon across the Atlantic, accounting for 94 of the 100 largest TV audiences in the United States in 2023.

The Super Bowl, with its 115.1 million American viewers last year, became the ideal stage for both Democrats and Republicans. Taylor Swift has in recent weeks been accused by a segment of the American right of being the object of propaganda in favor of the Biden administration. Her romance with Travis Kelce will be a set-up, and the entire NFL season will be a plot.

A Kansas City Chiefs fan holds a sign during an NFL game against the Las Vegas Raiders on December 25, 2003.  This sign echoes the slogan

“I wonder who’s going to win the Super Bowl next month.”, Republican Vivek Ramaswamy pretended to ask a questionThe former White House candidate before rallying behind Donald Trump on November 5 while the Kansas City Chiefs reached the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years. “And I’m surprised that a major announcement of support for a presidential candidate from an artificially created couple isn’t happening this fall.”

Taylor Swift, who has been silent for a long time on political topics, has speculated “to regret” in 2018, before openly criticizing Donald Trump’s COVID crisis management in August 2020. Travis Kelce participated in commercials from the Pfizer laboratory, to encourage the population to receive the second dose of the vaccine against COVID-19.

In the Biden clan, we now at least secretly hope – as revealed by the New York Times (paid article) – that Taylor Swift will publicly show her support for the outgoing candidate, just like in 2020. “It says the political power of American football and the Super BowlSummary of Jean-Baptiste Guégan. Indecision will be key to the US election: young people, minorities and large states, where the majority of NFL franchises are found. Both camps will fight over Taylor Swift. Some people present it as the worst thing to happen and create conspiracies. Others should back it up because this election is perhaps the most uncertain and dangerous for the United States since the election of George W. Bush.”

In September 2023, the Vote.org platform saw a 1,226% increase in traffic to its site in one hour following a publication by Star on the social network Instagram calling on people to register on electoral lists. More than 35,000 new registrations were recorded in 24 hours, including a 115% increase among 18-year-old voters. Since the battle between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in 2020, eight million young Americans have reached the age of being able to go to the polls for the first time.

Singer Taylor Swift celebrates with Kansas City Chiefs fans during the game against the Miami Dolphins on January 13, 2024 (Jamie Squires/AFP)

“But that’s not to say that Taylor Swift is a radicalJean-Baptiste Guégan continues. She’s open, progressive, but she also comes from this more traditional America. The politicization of an event like the Super Bowl could turn against him and his teammates. The mixing of sport and politics that is too much taken for granted is often counterproductive for the sports business.”

Will Taylor Swift’s influence on American football last? This will depend on the longevity of his relationship with Travis Kelce. Or the potential retirement of a 34-year-old NFL player. “If the NFL wants to take advantage of this, it’s going to have to do it quickly.”, assured Alain Mattei. But, this year, with Taylor Swift, the NFL has already won.

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