Music

Could Taylor Swift Move the Needle on Already-Massive Super Bowl Ratings?

Here’s a math problem for you: If the Super Bowl, which drew 113 million viewers last year, combines with Taylor Swift, who sold roughly 3.3 million tickets to her Eras Tour last year and over 6 million albums and whose recordings streamed on-demand 16.5 billion times in the U.S., according to Luminate, how many fans will tune in to the big game?

Not even statisticians know, but the scenario could play out Feb. 11 if Swift’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce, and the Kansas City Chiefs win their playoff game this weekend.

Just about everything Swift goes near experiences a consumption boost, from donuts in Kansas City to hotels in Philadelphia. Her televised omnipresence at Chiefs games led to a 400% sales hike in Fanatics’ Kelce jerseys on a single day and an additional 2 million female viewers for Sunday Night Football in early October, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

So far, the NFL has proceeded cautiously with this new demographic, attempting to welcome Swifties without alienating football diehards with over-coverage. Rick Porter, who covers TV and ratings for THR, expects that strategy to continue for the big game. “They’ll probably try to keep walking that line,” he says, “and not make it the Taylor Swift Bowl.”

Should Kelce and the Chiefs (and Swift) make it to the Super Bowl, Porter predicts the hype-filled run-up week to spotlight their romance, as opposed to more conventional football drama about tight-end positioning, defensive formations or, say, Eminem. “Everything about Super Bowl week is over the top, so I’m sure on media day that everybody will get bombarded with questions about it,” he says. “It’s the line they have to walk between welcoming more people into the tent but not turning off any of the people who were there to watch and talk about the game.”

Could Super Bowl viewership increase? A Taylor Swift Effect, Porter says, could potentially bump the numbers from 115 million to 130 million — “or something ridiculous like that.” He adds, “That would be a pretty big shock, if something jumped that much from something that was already this big.” Still, unprecedented numbers are Swift’s specialty: Eras grossed more than $900 million last year, according to Billboard estimates, and is on its way to earn more than any tour ever.

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