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Published on

February 13, 2024


content, marketing, social media

Taylor Swift and her army of fans (aka “Swifties”) sprinkled a bag of gold dust on all things NFL this year. The budding romance between her and Kansas City Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce, has delivered new audiences and brand value to American football.

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Late last year, Nielsen reported a staggering 53% increase in teenage girl viewership of Sunday NFL games. With Swift and Kelce still going strong, the trend carried over to the culminating event of the season this past Sunday. Twenty-one percent of Super Bowl LVIII viewers claimed to be tuning in to watch Taylor at the game, according to a Seton Hall survey. Lucky for them, she appeared on screen 11 times. For a total of 55 seconds. But who’s counting.

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Besides the big game, the 2024 NFL season benefited big time from the Taylor Swift Effect. Apex Marketing noted that Swift had effectively generated an equivalent $331.5 million in brand value for the Chiefs and NFL. And this doesn’t even include the cold hard cash from, for example, a 400% boost in Kelce’s jersey sales.


A Match Made in Marketing Heaven

It melds two of the most active, fanatical types of communities in the world—sports and music—with two individuals at the apex of their careers. Add a love story playing out in front of our eyes, and boom! Sparks fly. Dollar signs cha-ching.

Further, it has all the ingredients of a powerful story. Tension (will she be at the game, won’t she?). Intrigue. Authenticity. And for audiences, they feel as if they’re participating in vs. being passively told (or sold) the story.

As a result, the narrative becomes one that people (especially younger females) are deeply invested in. And social media serves as the inextricable link between it all; Swift, her music, her fans, Kelce, the Chiefs, the NFL, their communities. Exhibit A, this trend on TikTok where women ask men about Taylor Swift putting Travis Kelce on the map.

For brands, the lesson is about understanding the passions, interests, and concerns of audiences. Then, identifying ways for the brand story to be genuinely additive.

Related: Snoop Dogg as a Marketing Ploy: A Lesson in Managing Client Expectations

How To Make It Happen

  • Engage Audiences and Build Loyalty: Surveying audiences a few times per year is one thing, but having an ongoing, frequent dialogue to nurture relationships will demonstrate you really care. The more a brand authentically engages, the more audience trust is gained.
  • Be Responsive: Like Swift, who naturally reinvents herself every few years, being agile and responsive to shifting audience needs helps brands remain relevant. For digital marketers, it’s tempting to prioritize speed over substance when operating in the real-time nature of social. But agility should never come before staying true to brand values.
  • Know What Motivates Audiences: Swifties have come to expect hidden easter eggs in music videos, meet and greets after concerts, an incredibly personable experience at shows, and Taylor herself commenting on fan’s social posts. These moves make her followers feel validated, heard, and understood. To them, she feels accessible, human, completely relatable.

There’s a lot to learn from Taylor Swift’s NFL era. This is one of the reasons so many universities are starting to offer Swift-themed courses. Harvard is launching “Taylor Swift and Her World” this spring. University of Texas Austin has “The Taylor Swift Songbook.” Even Stanford, one of the best business schools in the world, will have a course starting this year.

Brands and marketers should know that the more effort put into understanding audiences, the more potential there is for success. Ask yourself: How do my customers behave? Where do they interact with their peers? What value is my brand providing to them in exchange for their time?

Staying current with these answers can help sharpen brand relevancy and unlock customer loyalty for the long haul.

Looking for more insights into how to reach your target audience? Reach out to our team today.

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