Taylor Swift fans were buzzing last weekend when the 12-time Grammy Award winner attended the Kansas City Chiefs vs. New York Jets game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. But were football fans interested?
Anyone who watched NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game on Oct. 1 probably noticed the slew of camera shots showing Swift cheering on her rumored beau, Chiefs’ Travis Kelce.
Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce brought it up to his brother This week’s episode of their podcast “New Heights” “It seemed like the cameras were more interested in potential sponsors than in the people playing,” he said.
Swift wasn’t the only celebrity in attendance. The music icon brought along a star-studded group, including Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds and Sophie Turner. Hugh Jackman, Sabrina Carpenter and Antoni Porowski were also spotted on the court.
After camera shots of box seats and a “Sunday Night Football” commercial featuring Swift’s song “Welcome to New York,” Jason Kelce finally asked the question that’s been circling the Internet: Is the NFL overdoing it?
“Get your feelings out of Taylor,” Jason Kelce told his brother as the tight end laughed. “What is your honest opinion about how the NFL handles celebrities at games?”
Travis Kelce responded that he finds it fun when the league shows off the stars in the game, adding that he thinks “it adds a little more to the atmosphere, brings a little more to what you’re watching.”
But when he began to offer a counterpoint, Jason Kelsey interrupted him, saying, “They’re taking it too far,” to which his brother agreed: “They’re taking it a little too far, especially with my situation.”
“I think they’re just trying to have fun with it,” Travis Kelce added.
Jason Kelce posited that the NFL “isn’t used to celebrities coming to games,” unlike other leagues like the NBA.
“It’s like basketball has it figured out. They’re all on the court, sitting there,” he said of celebrities at NBA games. “They showed them that once or twice, but then they got back into the game.”
Jason Kelce then asked his brother another question that was on fans’ minds during Sunday’s game: “Dude, how many commercials have you done?”
Through laughter, the Chiefs player said, “Yes, we made it happen over the offseason,” adding that at least one or two commercials are in the works.
Some football players don’t seem too bothered by Swift-Kelce’s coverage. on Last week’s podcast episode, Jason Kelce asked chief defensive tackle Chris Jones if he thinks the team’s defensive line gets enough credit these days.
“Well, when you think about it, when we have Pat Mahomes and Travis Kelce on offense and scoring a lot of damn points, and we have Taylor Swift in the game, who cares about defense, bro?” He said jokingly.
Swifties and football fans alike can’t deny the NFL’s increased viewership. The Sunday broadcast averaged 27 million viewers, according to NBC Sports, making it the most-watched Sunday program since the Super Bowl aired in February.
Compared to the first three weeks of “Sunday Night Football,” viewership for last weekend’s game was up 53% for girls 12-17, 24% for women 18-24, and 34% for women 35 and over. NBC Sports reported, citing Nielsen data.
“Collective growth led to an approximate increase in viewership of more than 2 million female viewers,” NBC Sports said.
Despite the close contest, the Chiefs cruised to a win over the Jets, 23-20, at home in New York.
The NFL leaned into conversations about Swift after Sunday’s broadcast by mentioning her attendance at recent games on its social media accounts. Amid the backlash, the league defended its social media activity in a statement to TODAY.com, saying in part: “We often change our bio and profile photos based on what’s happening in and around our games, as well as culturally. Taylor Swift and I have The Travis Kelce news was a real-time pop culture moment that we leaned into, because it’s the intersection of sports and entertainment, and we’ve seen an incredible amount of positivity around the sport.
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