Merchandise moves when fans feel compelled, and Taylor Swift’s celebrity has moved mountains where it was least expected: The NFL.

McKenna Morgan, Content Editor

February 14, 2024

3 Min Read
Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.
Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Whether you love her or not, Taylor Swift is a money-making machine. As of December, Swift’s Eras Tour was ranked the No. 1 grossing tour both worldwide and in North America, selling 4.35 million tickets across 60 tour dates and bringing in more than $1 billion in revenue. Her Eras Tour movie released in theaters in October and became the highest-grossing concert or documentary film in box office history. Swift herself was named a billionaire shortly after. 

Swift’s fans are dedicated, shelling out hundreds of dollars on albums, concerts, movies and licensed merchandise. They follow her every move, wondering how it’s going to affect her music or whether the outfit she’s wearing is an Easter egg for another album release. 

Swift’s dating life has been widely followed in the media for more than a decade, but now, the business world is taking notice. With the influence Swift has among her fans, anything she does can become a potential sale. Case in point: in September, Swift went public with her relationship with Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs tight end, and fans flocked to learn more about her new beau. As a result, NFL viewership has increased among teenage girls by 53%, and among the 18-24 age demographic there was an increase of 24%. Apex Marketing says Swift’s tangential involvement with the NFL has generated an additional $331.5 million in brand value for the NFL and the Chiefs. 

The Super Bowl was held Feb. 11, and a Numerator survey found 20% of respondents were rooting for Travis Kelce’s team because of his relationship with Taylor Swift. One fifth of Super Bowl viewers wanted the Chiefs to win because of the team’s slight relation to Swift.  

“Obviously, it creates a buzz,” Roger Goodell, commissioner, The National Football League, said during a pre-Super Bowl news conference. “It creates another group of young fans, particularly young women, that are interested in seeing why she is going to this game, why is she interested in this game besides Travis. She is a football fan.” 

Fanatics, a manufacturer and retailer of licensed sports gear, reports a 400% increase in Travis Kelce merchandise after Swift attended her first Chiefs game. Kristin Juszczyk, designer and wife of 49ers’ fullback, Kyle Juszczyk, designed a custom Travis Kelce jacket for Swift. As a result, the designer has signed an official licensing deal with the NFL to create merchandise. 

Before Swift and Kelce, people wouldn’t necessarily associate the NFL and the singer, but now, the fandoms are colliding, resulting in additional sales, deals and opportunities for licensed consumer products. 

What the licensed consumer product business can learn from Swift is that intersecting fandoms, no matter how juxtaposed they may initially seem, are how the industry sees growth. A fan of one thing sees a collaboration, and as a result, becomes a fan of another thing. That is where money is made.  

Swift herself never asked her fans to buy Kelce merchandise or watch the Super Bowl, but dedicated fans formed communities and discourse about Swift and Kelce. Some fans started watching football, others bought merch and eventually, the Swifties started an NFL growth spike that outlets like Forbes are calling “The Taylor Swift Effect.”  

Keeping up with pop culture and watching what celebrities associate themselves with is a strategy those in the licensing business should keep in their back pockets. Swift isn’t the only celebrity who can cause an impact like this, and if a company is ahead of the trend, maybe it can be part of the next “Taylor Swift Effect.” 

About the Author(s)

McKenna Morgan

Content Editor, License Global

McKenna Morgan is Content Editor for License Global. Based in the Santa Monica office, McKenna specializes in coverage involving non-profits, beauty and cosmetics, health and wellness, new and social media and entertainment licensing.

When McKenna isn’t covering the latest licensing news, she spends her time attending live music shows and finding her next travel destination.

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