The Taylor Swift Effect
October 2023

By Emily Ryan

When pop sensation Taylor Swift sang the lyrics, “Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone”, football fans never expected that place to be the Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

But on Sunday 24th September, there she was, standing next to the mother of two-time Super Bowl champion tight end, Travis Kelce, sporting a red and white Chiefs windbreaker.

This unexpected appearance sent shockwaves through social media. It introduced Travis Kelce, the 33-year-old NFL player, to millions of Swifties around the world. The NFL even playfully changed its bio on social platform X to read “NFL (Taylor’s Version)” in honour of their Arrowhead Stadium debut.

The Swift Effect on Social Media


Regardless of what the future holds for their relationship, one thing is clear, the so-called Swift Effect is already making a significant impact on Travis Kelce’s social media presence.

Over the weekend, he gained approximately 500k new followers, and it wasn’t solely due to his impressive performance on the football field against the Chicago Bears. Kelce’s merchandise sales surged by approximately 400% on Fanatics’ network of websites, including, making him one of the top five best-selling players.

Kelce’s Spotlight in the Social Media Arena


The spotlight on Travis Kelce has never been brighter, and it was already shining bright. Kelce has been featured in commercials for prominent brands such as State Farm, DirecTV, Bud Light, Pfizer and Campbell’s Soup. He even hosted Saturday Night Live earlier this year, following in the footsteps of other football stars, such as J.J. Watt and Peyton Manning. Additionally, Kelce co-hosts a weekly podcast with his brother, Jason.

Being Taylor Swift’s new public love interest has amplified Kelce’s success. As Eunice Shin, a partner at brand consultancy Prophet, said, “I think people are absolutely looking at Travis Kelce in a different light. His overall brand image has become a lot brighter just given the fact that you now have all of these Taylor Swift fans, millions who now know who he is, who may not have known him before.”

The Amplifying Power of Swift’s Fan Base


When you combine an NFL star’s fame with Taylor Swift’s enormous and passionate fan base— she boasts 273 million Instagram followers and 94 million more on X —the possibilities for greater exposure become astronomical.

Every aspect of their luxury suite romance, from the unreleased New Era Chiefs windbreaker to the New Balance 550 sneakers Swift wore, has been scrutinised by pop culture enthusiasts since the news broke. Let’s call it the TikTok effect.

The Benefits for Kelce’s Sponsors


For now, Kelce’s existing sponsors are undoubtedly reaping the rewards of the added interest. While the halo effect may diminish over time, there isn’t much risk for Kelce as an NFL player, given that Swift’s audience isn’t primarily composed of core football fans. However, there’s a delicate balance to maintain, as Kelce could face reputational challenges if he’s perceived to be excessively leveraging Swift’s fame, and Swift’s fan base is known for its protectiveness.

While the future of Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift’s relationship remains uncertain, one thing is clear, Travis Kelce’s social media presence and marketing star status are thanking their lucky stars for the Swift Effect. And if things don’t work out between the two, Taylor Swift will have a soft landing, given her status as one of the richest self-made women in America (with a net worth of $780 million according to Forbes). The power of social media, celebrity influence, and love stories continues to have a massive impact in the world of marketing and entertainment, and as a team of avid rom com lovers, we’re not mad about it.

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