A new celebrity superfan is capturing attention and making an impact on the NFL – pop megastar Taylor Swift. Swift’s three Sunday appearances in the stands at Kansas City Chiefs games coincide with over $485 million in advertising spending, according to data from MediaRadar. Her emergence as a football fan has expanded the NFL’s female viewership for NFL games and opportunities for brands.
Taylor Swift first showed up to support her boyfriend Travis Kelce’s team in late September. Together, Taylor and Travis have affectionately been dubbed “Traylor” by fans.
NFL Sunday Games Ad Spend Exceeds $1.5 Billion This Season
Even before the Swift mania, NFL Sunday games were advertising gold for networks and brands. MediaRadar’s data revealed that nearly $1.5 billion was invested by advertisers making appearances during Sunday NFL Football TV programming since the session kicked off in September with CBS, Fox, NBC, and NFL Network.
The high price of NFL advertising is driven by the huge live audiences that advertisers can’t find elsewhere. NBC’s Sunday Night Football averages over 23 million viewers, making it the most watched primetime show. A 30-second spot costs around $800k, but can top $1 million for big matchups.
At Taylor’s first appearance during the September 24th Chiefs’ matchup against the Bears, over 140 companies invested in ads. Some top brands showcased included Apple’s iPhone, GEICO Insurance, and Ford. The combined spend from these three was over $20mm, 12% of the ad investment during the game.
How Taylor Swift Impacts NFL Viewership and Brand Interest
While the NFL dominates live TV audiences, one area of growth is female viewership. Women now make up roughly 45% of the NFL’s fanbase. Swift’s high-profile fandom provides further confirmation that football is no longer just for male viewers.
For brands, especially those targeting women, having an icon like Swift enthusiastically watching games makes NFL advertising opportunities more appealing. Ad creative and messaging can be tailored based on her presence and the boost in female viewers she brings. Brands also have an opportunity to snag scatter market ads to capitalize on the expanded audience when Taylor is seen in the stands.
Auto Brands Bet Big on NFL Games and Female Viewers
The largest ad spend thus far during Taylor attended Chiefs games came from automotive. Over $107 million was invested by auto brands, with SUV models making up 36% of that figure.
Hyundai, Toyota, and Ford were particularly aggressive, spending over $15 million during the three Taylor games alone to promote SUV models like the Tucson and Kona. The brand debuted a new ad campaign focused on female empowerment earlier this year, indicating it sees NFL games as a way to reach women buyers.
Nissan and Chevrolet also placed big bets on NFL broadcasts featuring Swift, advertising smaller SUV models including the Rogue and Trax.
Insurance and Tech Also Make Huge NFL Ad Buys
Aside from automotive, two other ad categories filled NFL commercial breaks during Swift’s attendance – insurance and technology.
Insurance advertising was driven by leading brands like GEICO, State Farm, and Progressive. These three insurers combined spent almost $36 million on the Chiefs’ games, seeking to reach younger audiences during NFL broadcasts.
Meanwhile, tech companies like Apple, Google, Verizon, and T-Mobile spent over $41 million on NFL in-game ads. Aside from promoting the new iPhone and Google Pixel, many of the tech ads focused on 5G connectivity and speed. This suggests the brands see NFL games as a prime opportunity to align tech performance with sports performance.
Biggest Spenders Bet on NFL Audience Scale and Growth
For leading NFL advertisers in categories like automotive and technology, the huge viewership delivers unmatched reach and scale. Investing millions on in-game ads allows them to connect brands to passionate fans and widespread audiences.
Taylor Swift’s newfound fandom provides further confirmation that the NFL audience continues to expand. Her presence encourages brands to refine strategy and creativity to ensure messaging resonates with female viewers that Swift helps attract.
With Super Bowl LVIII coming in February 2024, the Taylor impact will likely influence brands to develop ads that appeal to both male and female viewers. The expanding diversity of football audiences creates opportunities for marketers in 2023 and beyond.