NBC has taken some slings and arrows from the traditional sports press for its over-the-top coverage of Taylor Swift‘s attendance at yet another Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday night. But the network might have the last laugh as ratings for the exciting prime time win by the Super Bowl champs over the New York Jets led to some serious gains in a few key demos.
According to Deadline, the preliminary Live+same day data from Nielsen and Adobe Analytics showed that the Swift-centric broadcast saw a 53% uptick in viewership by girls ages 12-17 from the season average over the first three games of the season, as well as a 24% bump among women 18-24 and a 34% increase for women over 35; NBC will release the official data on Tuesday (Oct. 3). The lean-into the hype about the alleged Traylor romance — neither Swift nor Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce have publicly confirmed rumors that they are dating — also reportedly led to an average of 27 million viewers for the Chiefs’ 23-20 win.
Those numbers were the best for a Sunday contest since the Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII in February; viewership peaked in the second quarter at 29 million. While impressive, the numbers were not the highest ratings for the season so far, falling just short of the 27.5 million who watched the Chiefs lose to the Detroit Lions in week one.
NBC did everything it could to remind viewers that Swift was once again in the house, from 17 reaction throws to the family skybox — where Taylor was hanging with Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Sabrina Carpenter, Sophie Turner and Hugh Jackman — as well as a “Taylor Made for Sunday Night” promo that ran earlier in the week that used Swift’s “Welcome to New York” as its theme song. The game also opened with The Voice host Carson Daly explaining how football works to Swifties and included a bizarre moment when Swift looked stressed when the game was tied 20-20 and the broadcast cut to a shot of the “Cornelia St.” sign, a reference to one of Swift’s saddest songs, the 2019 Lover song “Cornelia Street.”
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