Superstar Swift brings megawatt star power to Super Bowl

Reuters February 12,2024 - 10:08 AM

Taylor Swift

Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Recording artist Taylor Swift reacts during the first quarter between Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers of Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

LAS VEGAS – Pop superstar Taylor Swift took her seat at the Super Bowl on Sunday to watch boyfriend Travis Kelce and his Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers, providing a jolt of megawatt excitement to the Vegas blockbuster and ending a week-long will-she-won’t-she saga that has dominated the lead-up to the football event of the year.

Swift’s arrival some two hours before kick-off sent an almost palpable frisson around the Allegiant Stadium and social media rapidly filled with pictures and video footage of the singer dressed in a black top, black jeans and with a red jacket slung over her shoulder walking through the bowels of the stadium with friends Blake Lively and Ice Spice.

A punishing travel schedule in which she has flown from Japan to the U.S. and will then jet to Australia for tour commitments meant her presence was far from a foregone conclusion, and when giant television screens showed Swift for the first time, a ripple of cheers went around the still-mostly empty stadium.

But while Chiefs fans, neutrals, TV viewers and legions of “Swifties” the world over were delighted by her presence, the overwhelmingly 49ers crowd in the stadium were less enthusiastic.

Late in the first half the cameras flashed Swift up on to the big screens, prompting 49ers jeers to ring round the stadium. Swift responded by quickly grabbing her drink, and chugging it before slamming the glass down, as those around her smiled.

Swift has attended 12 Chiefs games since she began dating Kelce last year, boosting already sky-high NFL ratings. There had been fears she could miss the biggest game of all, though, due to scheduling conflicts with her “Eras Tour” which had her performing in Tokyo on Feb. 10, the night before the Super Bowl.

The singer, who last weekend won the Grammy Award for album of the year for a record fourth time will not be in the United States for long. She is scheduled to head to Australia for seven sold-out concerts, starting in Melbourne on Feb. 16.

Swift, and her army of devotees known as “Swifties”, brings a megawatt star power to the NFL and the Swift-Kelce love story marks a collision between two of the most powerful forces in American pop culture.

As shirt sales spike and viewership grows, the romance has brought millions of dollars of added brand value to the Chiefs and the NFL, according to research done by Apex Marketing Group.

“Taylor Swift’s association with Travis Kelce and appearances at the Chiefs game has generated an equivalent brand value of $331.5 million for the Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL” Apex President Eric Smallwood told Reuters in an email.

Many fans in Las Vegas for the extravaganza were hoping she would turn up.

“More women need to watch NFL. We need to get more involved in sports. I think it’s great … so go, Taylor,” Donna Collier, a 61-year-old football fan from Kentucky, said earlier in the week.

Pam Bortz, a 57-year-old ‘Swiftie’ from South Carolina, agreed: “I think it is a wonderful thing. She is an awesome person and it just really adds to the excitement of being here for the Super Bowl.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could be forgiven for rubbing his hands in glee, and this week told reporters it was great to have Swift part of the NFL story.

“Having the Taylor Swift effect is a positive,” Goodell said. “They’re – both Travis and Taylor – are wonderful people and they seem very happy. She knows great entertainment and I think it is great to have her a part of it. Obviously it creates a buzz … another group of young fans that are interested and saying ‘why is she going to this game?'”

The defending champion Chiefs are taking on the San Francisco 49ers in the 58th edition of the NFL’s title game at Allegiant Stadium, which the 49ers led 10-3 at halftime.

For the Chiefs, victory would mean a second successive Super Bowl and third in five years. The 49ers are seeking a record-tying sixth Super Bowl title in their eighth appearance in the NFL’s championship game.

READ MORE: What to expect from this year’s Super Bowl ads

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TAGS: Super Bowl, Super Bowl Halftime Show, Taylor Swift

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