LAS VEGAS – Pop star Taylor Swift took her seat at the Super Bowl on Feb. 11 to watch boyfriend Travis Kelce and his Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers. the she-she-isn’t-she saga that dominated the run-up to the football event of the year.
Her arrival about two hours before kickoff created an almost palpable buzz around Allegiant Stadium, and social media was quickly flooded with photos and videos of the singer wearing a black top, black jeans and a red jacket slung over her shoulder. inside the stadium with friends Blake Lively and Ice Spice.
A grueling travel schedule that saw her fly from Japan to the US and then jet to Australia for tour commitments meant her presence was far from settled, and there were waves of cheers when the huge television screens showed Swift for the first time. around the still almost empty stadium.
But while Chiefs fans, neutrals, TV viewers and legions of “Swifties” everywhere were thrilled by her presence, the vast majority of the 49ers crowd at the stadium was less enthused.
Late in the first half, cameras flashed Swift on the big screens, prompting jeers from the 49ers around the stadium. She responded by quickly grabbing her drink and downing it before slamming the glass down as those around her chuckled.
Swift has attended 12 Chiefs games since she started dating Kelce last year, boosting the National Football League’s already sky-high ratings. There were fears she might miss the biggest game of all, however, due to scheduling conflicts with her Eras Tour, which was scheduled to perform in Tokyo on February 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 plans to head to Australia for seven sold-out concerts, starting in Melbourne on February 16.
Swift and her army of fans known as “Swifties” bring megawatt star power to the NFL, and Swift and Kelsey’s love story marks a collision between two of the most powerful forces in American pop culture.
According to a study by Apex Marketing Group, the affair generated millions of dollars in additional brand value for the Chiefs and the NFL, thanks to a surge in jersey sales and increased viewership.
“Taylor Swift’s collaboration with Travis Kelce and appearances at a Chiefs game 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 of the extravaganza in Las Vegas hoped that she would appear.
“More women should watch the NFL. You need to do more sports. I think it’s great … so keep it up 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’s a great thing. She’s a great person, and that makes it even more exciting to be here at the Super Bowl.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could be forgiven for rubbing his hands in glee, telling reporters this week that it was great to have Swift be a part of NFL history.
“The Taylor Swift effect is a positive thing,” he said. “They – both Travis and Taylor – are wonderful people and seem very happy. She knows great entertainment and I think it’s great that she’s a part of it. Obviously, it creates a buzz…another group of young fans who are interested and say, “Why is she going to this game?”
The defending champion Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers in the 58th NFL title game at Allegiant Stadium.
For the Chiefs, a victory would mean the second Super Bowl in a row and the third in five years. The 49ers are trying to win a record sixth Super Bowl title in their eighth NFL championship game. – REUTERS