It’s Taylor Swift’s world, we’re all just living in it. And it seems Taylor’s latest and greatest era is infiltrating none other than the beloved American football season.
By now you’ve seen the memes, the butterfly-in-your-stomach-inducing touchdown footage, and read the many theories on Taylor’s alleged new romance with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. But while mainstream media is focused on Taylor’s relationship status and dating history, we marketers are bewildered (but not surprised) by Miss Swift’s profound influence on pop culture, e-commerce, and the economy at large.
Worlds collide at Arrowhead Stadium
In case you missed it, here is what happens when one of the world’s most influential women transcends into the sports category, simply by cheering in the bleachers.
Since attending the Kansas City Chiefs game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday evening, Travis Kelce’s merchandise has seen a 400% spike in sales – a true reflection of the influence her mere support and approval of Travis Kelce evoked in her millions of fans.
Travis’s Instagram following hovered under 3 million prior to Sunday’s game and has since increased by over 400,000 Swifties and it’s still climbing.
Sports media – including post-game conferences, NFL social channels, SportsCenter – and the Kansas City Chiefs’ social channels have covered the pop star’s attendance and effect on the game.
Girlfriends and wives rejoice as an explosive new TikTok trend emerges, inviting them to poke fun at their football-fanatic partners. In the popular new trend with hundreds of thousands of posts, content creators nod to Taylor Swift putting Travis Kelce “on the map” and the football fans’ reactions are nothing short of hilarious. They need to shake it off.
The Taylor Swift effect: 4 ways marketers are trying to keep up
So, how are marketers reacting and what can we learn about these iconic pop culture moments that resonate with people of all different ages, genders, and fandoms?
Timely reactionary content. Throughout Sunday’s game, the NFL and other notable media outlets continuously posted clips of Taylor at the game, which in turn contributed to the game being awarded the most-watched telecast of the week. Not only that, but Sunday’s game was the highest-rated NFL game of the week amongst women of any age group. The league understood the ‘Taylor Swift effect’ and seized the moment.
Educational moments. For the Swifties who are new to the sport of football, social media is making the most of this moment by teaching new fans the basics so they can follow along with Travis’ next game. This tactic is not only introducing an entirely new audience to the sport in an exciting and culturally relevant way but it’s also encouraging viewership of future games regardless of Taylor’s confirmed attendance. Research shows that 51% of American men consider themselves avid fans of the NFL, while only 24% of American women would say the same. But with Taylor Swift now in the mix, it will be interesting to see if we see a boost in women flocking to watch or see the next NFL game.
The Midas Touch. As we know, in the creator economy there are key players that can influence the masses and turn anything that they touch into gold. During Sunday’s game, ads were executed left and right driving the audience to buy Kansas City Chiefs merchandise, and brands were not shy about grabbing onto any connecting thread they could to join the conversation around the golden girl Taylor Swift. The pop star was photographed with a plate of chicken fingers, ketchup and seemingly ranch (and people say she isn’t relatable!), and the brands we know and love were quick to react. Will Taylor leverage this viral moment and create a new ranch sauce that pays homage to her country roots? Only time will tell (and if I’m right, you heard it here first!).
She is a mastermind. If we know anything about Taylor Swift, it is that nothing is unintentional. Whether this romance is the real deal or the subject of another one of Taylor’s crafty clues leading to something bigger, we should all pay close attention to whatever Taylor does next. And for many of us, it will be completely unavoidable.
Taylor Swift and the power of influence
This isn’t Taylor’s first time taking a new space by storm. Having started her career in country music, trying her hand at acting, and then landing at the tip top of the pop music industry, Taylor is known to wear many hats (or crowns if you will). The pop sensation is never shy to try new things and push the envelope while shattering every glass ceiling hovering in her atmosphere.
How can we be so sure? Well, we remember it all too well.
Taylor’s global tour, The Eras Tour, is hailed as the highest-grossing tour ever, set to earn over $2 billion dollars. Despite the adversity she faced changing music genres and the media’s unwillingness to accept her in the pop music industry, she kept working to prove she deserved a seat at the table. Her tour not only reflects her journey but also her triumphs across both genres, and her fans echo every word of every song performed throughout her 3-hour-long set.
Market research suggests that The Eras Tour could help generate $5 billion dollars of consumer spending for the global economy, with the tourism industry at the forefront of the impact. Her 2023-2024 dates span across five continents, 19 countries and 146 shows in total – which means she’s only getting started! Talk about a gold rush.
As if the above wasn’t enough, Taylor wanted to ensure every fan had the opportunity to see her tour. So, in true fashion, Taylor had her entire set filmed and turned into a feature film. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour will be featured in theatres around the world and has already earned $37 million dollars in presales and is forecasted to earn $70 million dollars on opening.
The woman quite literally generated a seismic impact equivalent to a 2.3 earthquake at a recent show in Seattle.
The world loves a happy ending, a love story, and what better story than a pop star and an NFL champion? So baby, let the games – and the Halloween costumes – begin. They say all’s well that ends well, and we hope this ends well for Travis Kelce. Although, we wouldn’t mind a new album…
_About the author
Viral Nation is a new media innovation group that powers the social ecosystem through integrated solutions that align strategy, talent, media, and technology. As pioneers in the influencer space, Viral Nation is comprised of a full-service creative agency, a creator and athlete-influencer representation agency, and a technology division creating modern marketing solutions for the social media age.