Even in the world of modern pop fandom, Taylor Swift’s fans are known for their unwavering dedication to their beloved artist. However, in the last year, they have taken their devotion to new heights by attending her Eras tour, watching her concert movie in theaters, and often doing both multiple times. Now, the Swifties are also showing their support for her new boyfriend, Travis Kelce, who is a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, by tuning in to NFL games.
Ever since they started dating last summer, Swift has been a regular presence at the Chiefs’ games this season. She is often seen in the VIP box with Kelce’s family and has been drawing large crowds of fans to the field. As rumors about their relationship reach a frenzy, there is speculation that there may be a proposal at the upcoming Super Bowl game on Sunday, where the Chiefs will be facing off against the San Francisco 49ers. Swift is anticipated to make the trip from Tokyo to be in attendance.
Swift’s past relationship with Joe Alwyn, a British actor, was known for its secrecy. However, her current relationship with Kelce has been more public. When Kelce attended Swift’s concert in Kansas City in July, he attempted to give her his number backstage, but was unsuccessful. He jokingly referred to it on his podcast, saying he was “throwing the ball in her court”. Swift caught wind of this and in October, after her first appearance at a Chiefs game, Kelce purchased a $6 million mansion in a gated community in Missouri to provide them with more privacy. A month later, he traveled to Buenos Aires to watch Swift perform and she even changed the lyrics to her song Karma to acknowledge her “guy on the Chiefs”. There is footage of Swift running offstage and into Kelce’s arms after the performance.
In the last six months, we have seen a lot more of Swift with Kelce compared to her six-year relationship with Alwyn. As a result, Swift and Kelce have become one of the most well-known couples in the US, and possibly even worldwide.
Their popularity goes beyond just their fans, showcasing our ongoing fascination with famous couples and their relationships. However, in today’s constant social media monitoring, many have either lost their shine or become less visible. It’s worth noting that companies have had to rely on previous romantic connections for their highly anticipated Super Bowl ads, such as Uber bringing back Ross and Rachel from the show Friends.
Similar to the popular romance of Posh and Becks, the relationship between Swift and Kelce is another prominent example of celebrity love. It follows a familiar plot, showcasing the ambitious and accomplished homecoming queen (or, as Swift describes herself, the studious feline enthusiast on the sidelines) and the football star with a kind heart.
Kelce’s previous posts depict a pure image of enjoying the little things in life, such as feeding squirrels and listening to MGMT’s Electric Feel. Similarly, Swift is beloved by her fans for being a bit of a nerd at her core. She may be the only person to receive Time magazine’s person of the year award and genuinely and unapologetically respond with a mention of Harry Potter.
Swift and Kelce, as a pair, are likable in many ways. They are both 34 years old, which is considered a respectable age. They are also at the peak of their careers and possess conventional attractiveness as well as being white. With the backing of the worldwide sports and entertainment industries, they appear unbeatable. Some Trump supporters have suggested that their relationship is a political ploy, orchestrated to help Biden win (who Swift openly supported during the 2020 election). The New York Times has dismissed this theory as “the most ridiculous conspiracy theory possible”.
Hunter Harris, a gossip columnist, believes that the relationship between the woman who recently won album of the year at the Grammys and the man who is about to win the Super Bowl is almost unrealistically perfect. It seems like a rare coincidence or a small chance occurrence that they are together.
Their supporters, at least, are purchasing it – and actually. When it comes to recognition of the brand, according to posts on social media and media coverage, Swift’s appearance at games is believed to have increased the Chiefs’ visibility by a value of $331 million (£260 million), as well as causing a 20% increase in sponsorship.
At the same time, there has been a significant increase in the number of young female viewers tuning in to watch NFL games. According to reports, the viewership for a single Chiefs game has gained an estimated 2 million viewers. The San Francisco Chronicle states that Swift has accomplished the seemingly impossible task of making the NFL even more popular.
The phenomenon known as the “Taylor Swift effect” is clear evidence of the pop star’s significant impact, often being discussed in the same manner as large corporations and even nations. In November, she was recognized (along with Beyoncé) for contributing to a 5% increase in US GDP, surpassing expectations. Furthermore, her Eras tour has already become the largest in history, bringing in $1 billion in revenue with almost a full year left to go.
Kelce shares a similar drive, as he joined a management agency while still in college with hopes of becoming as well-known as The Rock. Harris explains, “He’s charming and has a natural talent for communication.” His recent partnership has sped up his rise to fame, resulting in offers for TV appearances and movie roles. At one point, it was rumored that Kelce gained 124,000 new followers on X each time Swift attended one of his games.
Kelce has 1.2m followers, while Swift Inc has 95m. It’s possible that Swift Inc may not be able to gain any more followers, but the merger has also had its advantages. It has put an end to her brief relationship with Matty Healy, the controversial lead singer of the band 1975, which had caused disappointment among some of her fans. Additionally, it has solidified her position as the most renowned woman in the world, following a period of maintaining a private life. In fact, the release of information to the media by sources “close to Swift” claiming that her partner Joe Alwyn was threatened by her success could suggest that she herself has grown weary of being in the public eye.
After a successful year, Swift’s love life has shifted her image in the public eye from being the dominating (and possibly overwhelming capitalist) queen of pop to a young woman in a romantic relationship.
In 2022, there was criticism towards Swift for adding to the world’s emissions due to her frequent use of her private jet. However, on Tuesday, she joined Elon Musk in considering legal action against a college student who publicized their flights. The focus of media coverage shifted from whether her jet could get her from Tokyo to the US in time to see her boyfriend win the Super Bowl.
Harris is skeptical about the authenticity of the relationship, despite the attention it has received. While it may have initially been for publicity, Harris believes that Taylor Swift’s level of fame is already beyond needing Travis Kelce’s fame boost. In fact, Harris sees this relationship as a way for Swift to become overexposed quickly.
No matter the balance between work and enjoyment, “Tayvis” is a quintessentially American love story in multiple ways: highly appealing to consumers, slightly overly saccharine, and generously portioned. It speaks to our current era, which is greatly lacking in romance and fairy tales, that we eagerly consume and yearn for more. As Swift famously sang, it’s a tale of love – so let’s say yes.