Welcome to the Taylor Swift Super Bowl

David Deal
3 min readJan 29, 2024

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It’s already the Taylor Swift Super Bowl. I can promise you that right now now the NFL and CBS are:

  • Praying that Taylor Swift will find a way to make it from her Tokyo concert Feb. 10 to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas on Feb. 11. The story about her travel complications started blowing up immediately after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Baltimore Ravens to advance to Super Bowl LVIII. It’s already a huge story spanning the sports, entertainment, and travel industries. (She has not confirmed her attendance as of this writing.)
  • Planning every scenario for Taylor cutaway shots and social media posts, including “Taylor reacts to a Travis Kelce touchdown,” “Taylor dances in the luxury box to Usher’s halftime show” “Taylor reacts to the Chiefs winning,” “Taylor consoles Travis as the Chiefs lose,” etc.

Meanwhile, Usher must be anticipating the boost in sales his new album Coming Home will receive when it is released on Super Bowl Sunday, thanks to the visibility boost that Taylor Swift will give his halftime show just by attending — barring no travel delays.

I was reading in Billboard that “So far, the NFL has proceeded cautiously with this new demographic [of Taylor Swift fans], attempting to welcome Swifties without alienating football diehards with over-coverage.”

News flash: the lines between the NFL and entertainment (specifically the music industry) began to blur a long time ago. (Check out the Super Bowl halftime show.)

The NFL knows that Swifties’ initial interest is dependent on the relationship between Taylor Swift and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (current status: looking very long term). But there’s also this reality: Taylor Swift helped the NFL achieve its highest regular-season viewership among women since it began tracking in 2000, according to SportsPro Media. There’s a lot of money to be made with women viewers. Does anyone doubt that her presence at the Chiefs/Dolphins playoff game January 13 contributed mightily to the game being the most streamed live event live event in U.S. history?

It seems only fitting minutes before I wrote this post, I saw a group of teenagers (they were all female) down the block from my suburban Chicago home, exiting a car, all wearing Chiefs gear and holding hand-made signs adorned with the Chiefs logo and Taylor Swift photos. They had just returned from a Chiefs playoff watching party. How the NFL court them to watch games beyond the Chiefs is an intriguing question. But no doubt: Taylor Swift represents an opportunity, not an aberration.

In fact, for all the hand-wringing about Taylor overload, she is typically on screen for less than 25 seconds over the course of broadcasts that run longer than three hours, and her name is seldom mentioned, according to The New York Times. For such a short amount of air time, she delivers TV ratings and media impressions. The NFL and CBS are in a no-lose situation. If the Super Bowl is lopsided, CBS can step up the Taylor cutaway shots to keep viewers engaged. If the game is close, selectively used cutaway shots will add to the drama happening on the field.

A lot is riding on whether Taylor Swift can get from Tokyo to Las Vegas in time. Welcome to a whole new Super Bowl. The Super Bowl attracted 113 million viewers in 2023. How many will the game attract in 2024?

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