Can a spotlight on Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce help the NFL draw more Gen Z and female fans?

October 6, 2023  -Eager as the National Football League has been to cater to the recent public fixation with Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, it’s certainly not taking any credit for creating the outsized storyline that has emerged around the pop superstar and the Kansas City Chiefs tight end.

“Not orchestrated by the NFL,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy assured The Associated Press with a chuckle during a chat on the phone about what is becoming known as “ Tay Tay and Trav,” a topic few seemed to be able to get enough of initially, whether football diehards or Swifties, whether via TV or TikTok.

The protagonists largely have remained mum about their actual status since Swift began attending Kelce’s games 1½ weeks ago, though Kelce did admit after practice Friday in Kansas City that “everybody is having fun with it.”

“You’ve got a lot of people that care about Taylor and for good reason,” he said, without getting into the details of their budding relationship.

But the sport providing the backdrop, and its TV partners, have not been shy about trying to capitalize on the “situationship” and gain new fans, particularly members of Gen Z and more women — although marketing experts are skeptical there will be much of a bump in the long run.

“There is not going to be a ‘Pre-Taylor Swift Era’ and a ‘Post-Taylor Swift Era’ for the NFL. … It’s a momentary fascination,” said Rebecca Brooks, founder and CEO of Alter Agents, a consulting firm.

“I believe in love and I wish Taylor luck. But … it’s very unlikely people would go to a game to see Taylor and be like, ‘Oh, I had no idea this is what football was about! My gosh! I love it now!’” Brooks said. “Or let’s say they get married: Taylor is going to show up at games and it’s going to become routine.”

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