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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Filling in a Blank Space: How the NFL is using a popstar to finally market to women

Photo+via+Sporting+News
Photo via Sporting News

When mentioning the NFL and Swift, one may think of Eagles star rusher D’Andre Swift. This is no longer the case as in recent weeks the most popular football headline has been about singer Taylor Swift. I do not want any bad blood with Swifties, but I believe the NFL is pushing the Taylor Swift bandwagon a little too much when they should look in other ways to market the game toward women.

Swift’s speculated new boyfriend Travis Kelce, a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, hinted with his brother Jason, also in the NFL, about a possible relationship with Swift on their podcast “New Heights.”

But the rumors were taken to new heights when she appeared at the Chiefs 41-10 thrashing of the Chicago Bears in week three. Kelce scored his first touchdown of the year with her in attendance.  

Social media exploded as the football world collided with Swift’s diehard fans. The NFL felt the attention as they mass-produced content focused on Swift. They changed their Instagram bio to “Chiefs are 2-0 as Swifties” and their Twitter bio to “NFL (Taylor’s Version)” a nod to Swift’s re-recorded albums. Along with these posts by the NFL, thousands of fans online were talking about it and many football fans felt they could not escape it.  

Swift brought the NFL the attention of a demographic they had never targeted before; women. A study by Morning Consult estimated that 53% of American adults identified as fans of Swift. Combining two major fanbases could lead to popularity unseen before. Historically, whenever women are featured in football advertising, they are used solely as eye candy. According to CNBC, women were only “principal” characters in 14% of Super Bowl commercials.

Football has been America’s most popular sport for over fifty years, and it is estimated that around 17 million viewers tune in to every game. It is estimated that over 70% of NFL Fans are American men. The NFL and their social media accounts easily garner hundreds of millions of eyeballs every night and knew all too well that Swift could gain the attention of millions more. 

I believe it is great marketing that the NFL aligned themselves with the biggest name in music, however, many football fans felt the NFL pushed it too far.

All the attention led to football fans filling the NFL’s social media with thousands of hate messages. Even Kelce thought it was too much.

I think everybody is just overwhelmed,” Kelce said.

Capitalizing on Swift to grow their audience is a smart move for football. The NFL should continue to capitalize on this new fan base by finding ways to get women involved in the game. Instead of doing all of this promotion just for a little attention, they should dig deep to find the women who are genuinely interested in football and might not know it yet

Using female role models has an incredible effect as millions of young girls were excited to watch a football game against the Bears, a feat not even Bears fans can achieve anymore. Never in their wildest dreams would the NFL believe they could have millions of girls watching, tweeting and promoting one of their teams without the league putting any real effort in.

If the NFL wants to sustain this new fanbase, they need to make serious long term efforts to effectively retain their audience.

This story was written by Conor McPherson. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on X at @ConorMcPherson_.

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