This may be more evidence that the whole thing is a giant marketing ploy…but it’s also evidence that it’s working.
Taylor Swift has been the topic of conversation in the NFL lately after rumors of her budding relationship with star Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce were seemingly confirmed when Taylor appeared at Arrowhead Stadium to watch the Chiefs take on the Chicago Bears a few weeks ago, sitting in a box with Donna Kelce.
Since then NFL fans have been inundated with Taylor Swift coverage any time the Chiefs are on the field – and even sometimes when they’re not.
Final stats from tonight's broadcast, per our count:
Cutaways to Taylor Swift: 17 Commercials for Swift's new movie: 2 Commercials with Travis Kelce in them: 3 Commercial with Patrick Mahomes in them: 2 Commercials with Andy Reid in them: 1 pic.twitter.com/m0HSBIense
Even Travis Kelce thinks that the networks are “overdoing it” when it comes to talking about his new girl, saying on his New Heights podcast that the NFL isn’t used to having superstars of Taylor’s caliber at their games:
“I just think the NFL isn’t used to celebrities coming to games. Basketball has it figured out, they’re all court-side, they’re all sitting there, they show them once or twice, but then they get back to the game.
The NFL is like, ‘Look at all these A-list celebrities at the game! Keep showing them! Show them, show them!’
Dude listen, you show them once, let them know they’re there, maybe after a touchdown you get a little clip. But you can’t be overboard with it. People are there to watch the game, right?”
But the whole thing has been a major win for the league: The Sunday Night Football broadcast of the Chiefs game versus the Jets a few weeks ago, when it was announced beforehand that Taylor Swift would be in attendance, drew the biggest television audience for any NFL game since the Super Bowl, and averaged nearly 27 million viewers for the contest.
So obviously the NFL is going to do their best to capitalize on the legions of Swifties who tune in – and it’s paying off.
According to data analyzed by Averagebeing, the NFL gains an average of nearly 13,000 new followers on Instagram every time Taylor Swift appears at a Kansas City Chiefs game. And the Chiefs are doing even better, with an average of over 18,000 new followers.
But the real winner in this is Travis Kelce himself. Aside from (maybe) dating Taylor Swift, he also gains an average of 124,090 Instagram followers every time his lady comes to watch him play football.
With Taylor appearing at 3 games so far, that’s nearly 450,000 new Instagram followers for Kelce, who’s now sitting at around 4.3 million followers – meaning that he’s gained nearly 10% of his Instagram followers just from being with Taylor Swift.
Now obviously Travis Kelce was already a massive star before dating Taylor. He was probably the most recognizable tight end in the NFL even before the relationship, and he has a popular podcast, New Heights, with his brother Jason, who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles.
But the massive boost that he’s gotten from being linked to Taylor Swift only adds to the speculation that the whole thing is just a giant media stunt. Travis signed with the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a Los Angeles-based talent agency, earlier this year, and since then he’s appeared in commercials for everything from the COVID vaccine (which earned him the nickname of “Mr. Pfizer” from Aaron Rodgers) to State Farm insurance. Oh, and he also landed a surprise guest spot on SNL this past weekend.
So is his relationship with Taylor just a manufactured media stunt to boost his value? Who knows. But what we do know is that if that’s the case, it’s working.