How Taylor Swift is making NFL odds go wild

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If you are an NFL fan or betting enthusiast, you probably never would have thought in your ‘Wildest Dreams’ that Taylor Swift could affect NFL betting odds. Well, it is very much true – The ‘Swiftie’ effect is real and in full effect – ever since the news broke of the popstar’s romance with The Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce.. 

American football is by far the United States’ most popular sport. Over the years, the league has tried to increase its audience and, this year, the NFL launched a new fun and commercial campaign including some of the NFL’s biggest stars, such as quarterback Patrick Mahomes , Justin Fields and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. 

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Additionally, this year, to announce the always heavily anticipated Super Bowl headliner for next year, the League collaborated with the biggest reality stars of all time Kim Kardashian, Deion Sanders and Odell Beckham (fair to say they try to appeal to all audiences) to announce Usher will sing at 2024 Apple Music’s Super Bowl Halftime Show. 

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Little did they know that all they had to do to increase their fanbase was to put the biggest pop star in the world in the audience. Swift attended her first Chiefs game in September, cheering on her new beau in a luxury suite alongside Kelce’s mother, and by her next appearance, dubbed “America’s Game Of the Week”, the game had a reported 24.3 million viewers – the most watched television program of the week. 

Chief ticket sales rose from her first appearance as fans rushed to get tickets, hoping to see Taylor at the next game. According to ESPN Stats & Information, “the Vivid Seats site had a 173% increase in traffic for the Chiefs-Jets game page in the wake of Swift’s Arrowhead Stadium sighting”. On top of fans scrabbling to get tickets, they were also rushing to snatch Kelces’ jersey, securing the place among the top five in NFL jersey sales on Sept 24th with a 400% increase in sales online, including 

The Chiefs’ social media also benefited from Swift’s appearance with a remarkable growth of 200,000 followers, while Kelce’s skyrocketed to 1.1 million followers on Oct 8th, according to Bleacher Report.

Not only was there an increase in viewership, sales and followers, but also an improvement in Kelce’s performance: in the last four games Swift has attended, Kelce had seven catches for 69 yards. A score, six catches for 60 yards, nine catches for 124 yards, and 12 catches for 179 yards and a score. For the record, that’s an average of 8.5 catches, 108 receiving yards and half a touchdown per game. In comparison to – without Swift’s attendance – a Kelce average of 6.7 catches, 50.3 receiving yards and 1.5 scores. Patrick Mahomes proved himself a brilliant teammate and wingman, and made a joke, ensuring Kelce made a good impression for Swift. 

The Chiefs’ increased performance when Swift is in the audience has impacted how sports bettors have approached recent games. 

Kelce is aware of the impact his girlfriend’s presence can make. In a press conference earlier this month, he held back on admitting that Swift would attend in Vegas, knowing it could sway things.  “When I mention if she’s going to be at the game, the Vegas line and Over/Under on my catches goes up and down, the spread goes up and down, so I’m just going to keep that to myself,” 

Kelce is not the only one benefitting from Swift’s presence – sports bettors have taken advantage of Kelce’s prop bets.  

DraftKings’s Johhny Avello, director of sportsbook operations, noticed a huge increase in bets on Kelce’s player props; although it may have lowered slightly recently during Week 7, Kelce remained the second-most popular choice among all players in DraftKings’ Anytime Touchdown Market. 

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