Taylor Swift’s Relationship With The NFL: It’s Complicated

While NFL fans think it’s quite alright that pop megastar Taylor Swift is now on the NFL scene, a majority also say she is shown too much on TV during her boyfriend Travis Kelce’s games.

Taylor Swift wishlist

But as Kelce’s Kansas City Chiefs sit two wins away from another title, regular Super Bowl viewers would like to see Swift headline a halftime show someday, according to an NCSharp survey.

We found:

  • Swift is by far the most popular choice of a long list of music superstars who could be tapped to perform at half, besting second-place Drake and more than twice as popular as Eagles and Metallica
  • However, 57% of football fans think Swift is shown too often during broadcasts of Kelce’s game
  • Still, despite negative outliers on social media, when asked if they were happy Kelce and Swift were dating, 65% of football fans said “it doesn’t matter to me” and 30% were happy for the couple.

As for other potential halftime performers, Swift was also six times more popular than her ex Harry Styles, who finished dead last in the poll with just 13 votes. Swift and Styles, reportedly, dated briefly over 10 years ago.

Which, naturally, brings us to Swift’s boyfriend Kelce and the marriage of sports and popular culture. Wait, did we say marriage?

Swift has driven increased interest in the NFL

Perhaps Swift’s relationship with Kelce has helped put her over the top in our poll.

After all, Swift has appeared at 11 Chiefs’ games this season. That’s more than you thought, right? Especially for a woman amid a massive world tour.

So, if this is some elaborate marketing gimmick — as a minority of haters and NFL purists suggest —  Swift and Kelce are certainly putting in a lot of time and effort for a ruse.

And, really, does Swift need marketing help at this point? She’s one of the biggest stars in the world.

So, let’s just assume that the relationship is legit and wish them well.

But, there’s no denying the Swift-Kelce tandem has been good for business — even Kansas City Chiefs business.

The team was 8-3 in games she attended and outscored their opponents 269-187 in those games. In case you’re curious, Kelce averaged 7 receptions for 75.4 receiving yards in those games. In Sunday’s divisional game victory in Buffalo, Kelce scored two touchdowns.

By comparison, the Chiefs were just 5-3 in the games when Swift did not attend, and they only out-scored opponents 155-138. Kelce’s stats drooped, as well. He averaged 6 receptions for 50 yards in the Swift-less games he played. He did not play in two of those eight games.

Kelce jersey sales, search terms soared after Swift came to a game

Naturally, the NFL is delighted to be able to expose its product to Swift’s massive legion of fans, who tuned in to see her cheering on Kelce.

The Swifties have also snapped up Kelce jerseys in huge numbers. In the week after Swift attended her first Chiefs’ game on Sept. 24, Kelce jersey sales were up as much as 400% by some estimates.

Google Trends data reveals the search term “Travis Kelce jersey” reached peak popularity the week after Swift attended that game. The search term was almost four times more popular than the week after Kelce and the Chiefs won the Super Bowl on Feb. 12.

That search term remained more popular than the week after the Super Bowl victory for an entire month after Swift attended her first Kelce game.

Other search terms that peaked the week after Swift first appeared at one of Kelce’s games (when compared to the week after he won the Super Bowl):

  • NFL game jersey” was four times higher.
  • Football jersey” was three times higher.
  • Kelce football jersey” was twice as high.

Ratings, Kelce Instagram followers also hit overdrive

As for other “economic indicators” of the relationship, the first game she attended was a ratings bonanza, grabbing the No. 1 spot that week — which is saying something because the Chiefs were playing the Chicago Bears in a Week 3 tilt. And female viewership was up 63%.

Also, reportedly, the Chiefs sold the most tickets in a single day after that game, and Kelce added roughly 300,000 followers on Instagram.

This should be no surprise. Taylor Swift’s economic impact is very real.

On her current Eras tour, Swifties injected some $93 million per show into local economies. By the end of the US leg of that tour, that amounted to a $5.7 billion boost to the country’s economy.

Other NCSharp survey data generally positive about Swift

All that jibes with some of NCSharp’s other survey data.

Of some 500 people who said they were football fans, nearly 86% said they had noticed Swift attending NFL games this season.

Nearly 96% of football fans said they were either happy Swift is dating Kelce or didn’t care one way or the other about it. Fewer than 5% said they were not happy the two are dating.

Though, more than 56% said broadcasts spent too much time talking about Swift during the games she attended.

But does Swift need to perform at the halftime show?

But, back to her business — which, as we mentioned, is deeply impactful. It’s interesting that Swift has never performed at the Super Bowl halftime show.

Cares about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce Now, conventional wisdom is that she doesn’t really need to do it.

In recent years, the performance has been more about giving a late-stage zap to careers that need the paddles — unless you’re Shania Twain. Her 2003 performance was described by Rolling Stone “as a career-freezing sadgasm.” Yikes. Thank goodness No Doubt and Sting also performed that year to bring the whole thing to a level of lukewarm crappiness.

Which is entirely the point here with Taylor Swift. Sure, she could kill it and currently is killing it around the globe with an epic, large-scale spectacle that would rock the Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium (home of Super Bowl LVIII).

But does she need the hassle and the inevitable grumbling from unhip baby boomers who make a sport about griping about just about any halftime performer under the age of 70?


In an age when album sales are shockingly low, Swift has already sold some 200 million albums lifetime and sold nearly 50 million on vinyl alone just in 2023.

Her tour is estimated to take in $4.1 billion before it finishes. That’s a “B” there, friends.

So, she definitely does not, yet, need the exposure — or the grief, in some quarters — from performing at halftime for football fans, despite how desperately many want her to do it.

About the Author

Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in Michigan with an emphasis on online casino, online sports betting and horse racing sectors. The Ontario resident and native also reports on the intersection of music, sports and culture. He is currently reporting on the gambling industries in Michigan, North Carolina and Canada.