Taylor Swift’s Swifties and professional football fanatics typically do not rub elbows. But in the past two weeks, they’ve been finding some common ground.  

When the pop superstar attended a Sunday night prime time NFL match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets, her appearance set in motion a frenzy of attention and situated the league in front of a new fan base.

Jerseys for No. 87 Travis Kelce, a tight end for the Chiefs and Swift’s rumored boyfriend, spiked by 400 percent, according to news reports.

The National Football League has responded to the Swift-mania by changing its Twitter banner to a photo of Swift and even airing commercials for the superstar’s new movie during a recent game.

Is the NFL overdoing the Swift bandwagon?

Not at all, says Virginia Tech sports media expert Anthony Amey. It’s good for the football business, and it’s a unique way to get in front of a new fan base.

“Although Sunday Night Football has been the No. 1 television show in America for a record 12 consecutive years, and NFL games rate higher than anything else in this country, of course the league wants those fans who would rarely or never watch a game to join and feel welcome, no matter what,” Amey said. “Provided the reasons are ethical, what seems to be more wholesome right now than Taylor Swift?”

Amey, who teaches courses in Virginia Tech’s sports media and analytics major, said the Swift news has been the topic of discussion with his journalism students. During a recent class, Amey said he shared with his students that the NFL, as a business, “has no journalistic reason to avoid leveraging the popularity of Taylor Swift and how she will attract new fans for the most profitable sports league in the world.”

“Even a league as popular and as profitable as the NFL will gladly welcome Taylor Swift and all of her hundreds of millions of followers, because that kind of business is good business for the owners, who know that hardcore fans will watch regardless of who is present or promoted,” he said.

“Those hardcore fans who just want to see football will have to shake it off."

About Amey

Anthony Amey is an assistant professor of practice for sports media and analytics in the School of Communication. Amey covered some of the top athletes and sports figures in the country during his more than 25 years as television sports reporter, including as an anchor for ESPN. 

Schedule an interview

To schedule an interview, contact Margaret Ashburn in the media relations office at mkashburn@vt.edu or 540-529-0814, or Jenny Boone, director of marketing and communication for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Science at jennykb@vt.edu or 540-314-7207.