He is the man who got women worldwide caring about the Superbowl, sparked an internet sensation and left many fuming as Swifties invaded “their domain”. He’s been a god in the NFL world for years, but his latest partnership has cemented his place in the history books, skyrocketing his success to a whole new level.
In case you have been living under a rock, Travis Kelce is a superstar Tight End for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. He has an estimated net worth of over $40 million, two Super Bowl rings, and has been named First-Team All-Pro thrice. However, all of that means very little to the nearly 1.1 million new followers who are just here to see “the guy on the Chiefs,” as he is better known to his girlfriend, international superstar and 12-time Grammy winner, Taylor Swift.
Swift, who was raised a Philadelphia Eagles fan and who has always been an avid supporter of the game, sparked a collective freak-out from females everywhere when she was spotted at the Chiefs game last year with Kelce’s mother. This came just a few weeks after the Tight End went viral when he attended Swift’s concert and spoke on his podcast about how he had wanted to give her a friendship bracelet with his number on it.
Kelce, who already had a massive fan base of his own, has seen a considerable increase in followership and hype since the relationship started. In the past year, there has been a 667 per cent increase in Google searches for “Travis Kelce fashion”, making the NFL star one of the biggest style icons of 2023, according to research conducted by fashion experts BoohooMAN.
Kelce is not one to shy away from a bold fashion statement. Back in September, after being spotted wearing a light blue and white denim jack and matching pants set, there was a noted 92 per cent increase in Pinterest searches for the usually taboo fashion trend “double denim”. Kelce is also a big fan of colourful prints, having been snapped wearing a bright yellow button-up with brown leather pants on one occasion or a flamingo print bowling shirt on another. Off the back of this, there was a 30 per cent increase in searches for graphic shirts on Pinterest.
Trends also showed a significant increase in searches for the baggy sweater trend, plaid shirts and oversized blazers after Kelce was pictured engaging with these fashion trends. “Kelce has cemented himself as a menswear icon, with people searching for his pre-game looks and general style on various social media platforms. As Travis’ and Taylor’s relationship progresses, don’t be surprised to see Kelce’s outfits all over social media in 2024,” said a spokesperson for BoohooMAN.
For Kelce, the success doesn’t stop with his sudden fashionista status. His podcast, New Heights, with brother and fellow NFL superstar Jason Kelce, has also received a significant boost off the back of the budding romance. According to newly-released Edison Podcast Metrics data from Edison Research, the podcast experienced a staggering four-and-a-half times increase in weekly reach among podcast listeners aged 13 and older in the U.S.
The NFL has also received a massive boost after relationship rumours began swirling. Sales for Kelce’s number 87 Chiefs jersey jumped nearly 400 per cent after Swift first appeared at a game last year and have remained steady since. The game has also seen an up to 34 per cent increase in viewership within the 18-24 and 35+ female categories, according to Nielsen data.
This massive increase in popularity can teach us a lot about the success of brand partnerships. While not all brands have the kind of money to see them partnering with the likes of Taylor Swift, a lot can be said about the power of partnering with influential and well-known names.
Anything Swift touches turns into gold, so how could we expect anything less from her relationship with Kelce? “Anything associated with her gets an increase in popularity – she’s pretty incredible and is TIME’s Person of the Year with good reason,” said Adam Ferrier, consumer psychologist and chief thinker at Thinkerbell.
“Brand partnerships, like personal partnerships, expose a brand to a whole new audience. Travis is now being exposed to a whole lot of Swifties and being judged for his fashionista vibes, not just his footy. Brand partnerships are a wonderful way to build your brand,” Ferrier said.
Ferrier said that brand partnerships are an excellent way to build a brand and that athletes are a great choice. “Athletes are more successful as they are easy to work with as they are the traditional market of brand endorsements, and the ruts of how it’s done are really well established. Things like reach are often excellent due to the popularity of sport, and risk mitigation is easier as the category is so well established”.
With Kelce’s Chiefs now heading to the Superbowl next week, there is a lot of room for speculation as to how this partnership will impact the already massively successful event – from the potential for record-breaking viewership to massive jersey sales and a likely appearance from Swift the sky is the limit for just how far this partnership may take Kelce, Swift and the NFL.
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