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GAME-CHANGER

Taylor Swift love rumours boost NFL Sunday ratings for NBC

Taylor Swift and her lyrics displayed on the NFL’s X profile page.

Singer Taylor Swift has already given the concert and movie businesses a boost. Now the NFL is getting its own version of a Taylor bump.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football drew an audience of 27 million viewers, up 22% from a year ago, as the rumoured relationship between Swift and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce pulled in additional fans. That included 2 million more women, the network said Monday.

It’s the second weekend in a row that Swift’s presence in the luxury box of an NFL game has been credited with delivering publicity for the league. She also turned out to see Kelce and the Chiefs beat the Chicago Bears a week earlier, sitting with Kelce’s mom, Donna.

The fan excitement has been reflected in the amount of money bet on games. Action on Kelce via DraftKings more than doubled over the weekend.

The dollar value bet on Kelce’s performance on Sunday was twice his two prior games combined, according to an emailed statement from DraftKings. Rumours began to spread that he was dating Swift before his first regular season game.

The most popular Kelce bets on Sunday’s game against the New York Jets by amount of money wagered were for longest reception and scoring, DraftKings said. The Chiefs beat the Jets 23-20. Kelce amassed 60 receiving yards but didn’t score.

The ratings and the betting illustrate the almost instantaneous and broad impact that Swift regularly has on the public. She helped to drive US economic growth in the third quarter.

Her presence doubled ticket sales on StubHub for the Chief’s Sunday game against the Jets. Last week’s Chiefs game against the Chicago Bears was the the most watched show of the week with 24.3 million viewers, scoring first among female audiences. Kelce’s jersey sales shot up by nearly 400%. The planned release of a film about Swift’s Eras concert tour recently moved the shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings.

The NFL is capitalising on Swift’s attendance. It changed the banner of its page on X, formerly known as Twitter, to show her cheering at a game, and its Instagram page biography said “chiefs are 2-0 as swifties” on Monday.

She brought celebrity friends Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Sophie Turner and Hugh Jackman to MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

Marketers also sought to cash in, with companies airing commercials during the game that featured Swift or Kelce.

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