Sunday Night Football’ prepares to welcome Taylor Swift to Chiefs-Jets game in new promo
When the pop sensation seamlessly integrated the team’s name into a song during a performance in Argentina on Saturday, millions worldwide paused, diverting their attention to Google.
On that Saturday night, Google searches for “Chiefs” (even though the team wasn’t in action that weekend) were nearly nonexistent until around 2 a.m. local time when they experienced a sudden 150% spike.
This surge was triggered by Taylor Swift incorporating the phrase “the Chiefs” into her song “Karma” at a Buenos Aires concert, around 11 p.m.
“Karma is the guy on the Chiefs, coming straight home to me,” Swift serenaded that night, replacing the usual “Karma is the guy on the screen, coming straight home to me.” Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce, the presumed “guy,” witnessed the unfolding moment.
For Kansas City, it might be surprising that the rest of the world doesn’t usually hang on every move of the NFL team, and most people aren’t even aware of the team’s existence. At least, not until Kelce and Swift’s romantic involvement became headline news.
Reeves Wiedeman, a Kansas City native writing about Taylor Swift for New York Magazine, noted that this newfound interest has significantly benefited the Chiefs locally.
For the NFL, which aims to garner fans globally, including in Latin America, Swift’s shout-out in Argentina is undoubtedly a welcome development.
“Suddenly, they are likely approaching the same level of name recognition as some of the massive European soccer teams have worldwide,” observed Wiedeman.
Since 2007, the NFL has been actively expanding its overseas fan base through the Global Markets Program. This program facilitates access to international markets for marketing and fan engagement, aligning with a long-term strategic effort to enable clubs to build their brands globally and foster NFL fan growth beyond the US.
Rumors abound that Mexico, Brazil, and Spain are in talks with the NFL about hosting games.
However, does increased name recognition overseas translate to heightened demand for Chiefs tickets from Swifties in other countries? Brian Donovan, a KU professor teaching a class about Taylor Swift, expressed skepticism.
“I don’t think there are Swifties out there willing to spend hundreds of dollars just for the off chance of seeing their favorite star,” Donovan stated. “But I do think that if you’re on the fence about it, the idea that she is in the stadium might tip the scales one way or the other.”
KCUR reached out to StubHub and Overland Park’s Tickets For Less to inquire whether the Chiefs shoutout in Argentina led to a surge in ticket sales for the next game.
“We did see a spike in page views on our Chiefs event page over the weekend, with the Chiefs-Bengals and Chiefs-Eagles games having the highest sales,” reported Angela Presnell, Tickets For Less senior vice president of marketing and retail. “But it’s hard to tell if this is solely because of the Swift Effect. The game against the Eagles is one of the most-anticipated games of the year as both teams — each with a Kelce brother — faced off in the Super Bowl earlier this year.”
Presnell added that the Tickets for Less website witnessed an increase in traffic from women, potentially indicating a new fan base. StubHub did not respond.
While international fans may not be directly inflating ticket prices at the moment, Swifties in the states might be contributing. Ticket prices soared after her initial appearance at a Chiefs game in September.
Wiedeman speculated that overseas fans planning to attend the World Cup in 2025 are now more aware of Kansas City as a venue.
“Whether Taylor and Travis are still together in three years, this brings greater brand recognition to the city. And that’s a good thing,” he concluded.
Another positive aspect, according to Donovan, is the societal impact that the Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce relationship has had in general.
“Forty years ago, the season or series finale of MAS*H aired, and 60% of Americans who owned television sets watched that episode,” Donovan reflected. “And we haven’t had anything similar to that. There’s something about the NFL in combination with the biggest fandom in the world providing a kind of monoculture for people to cling to.”
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