Taylor Swift: The NFL’s Most Valuable Person
She’s the greatest ad for the Super Bowl in history, says CBS
At one time many, many year’s ago media coverage in the week’s leading up to the Super Bowl was filled with stories about football players, which actually made a lot of sense because without football players there would not be any football.
That changed when reporters began writing about concussions and more recently about gambling from home. Stories about football players, without which there would be no NFL, were shunted to the sidelines until a few days before the Super Bowl.
This year was different, because dominating pre-Super Bowl coverage was a person who previously had no connection to America’s favorite sport. Of course, I mean Taylor Swift, the world’s most popular pop star, whose interest in football was kindled because of her relationship with Travis Kelce, the tight end of the defending champions Kansas City Chiefs.
In addition to receiving uber media coverage, Ms. Swift added a guessing game to the Super Bowl. Will she be able to return from Tokyo in time for the Big Game?
Research shows that the media attention focused on Ms. Swift was not of her actions. The way she behaved at football games was like any other fan, celebrating the play of their favorite players. But that didn’t stop some supporters of Donald Trump from saying she was a Democratic operative, or a Pentagon operative or a spy, anything but a great entertainer whose fans love her.
What was not said by her enemies was how little time the cameras were focused on her cheering after her beau Travis Kelce made a play.
Several articles set the record straight:
- A late January article by Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times said: The reality is that Ms. Swift is typically on screen for less than 25 seconds over the course of broadcasts that run longer than three hours, with her name rarely being mentioned.
- Another article on the Brobiblewebsite, a lifestyle website that delivers the latest news about sports, culture, and gear, said Ms. Swift was shown only five times during this roughly three-hour game for a total of 24 seconds during the Chiefs 27-24 victory that gave them a chance to repeat as Super Bowl Champions on Feb. 11.
The amount of screen time Ms. Swift received in the other games she attended, according to Brobible, was 76, 12, and 14 seconds. And while she kept quiet about her attending, announcers Tony Romo and Jim Nantz of CBS and Mike Tirico of NBC made sure the TV audience knew she was there.
Nevertheless, critics of Ms. Swift’s appearance at football games still say that she receives too much attention, even though she’s shown on camera an average of 25 seconds in a game that runs more than three hours.
Ms. Swift told TIME magazine, “I don’t know how they know what suite I’m in.” “There’s a camera, like, a half-mile away, and you don’t know where it is, and you have no idea when the camera is putting you in the broadcast, so I don’t know if I’m being shown 17 times or once.” I’m just there to support Travis. I have no awareness of if I’m being shown too much and pissing off a few dads, Brads, and Chads.”
But many dads happily credit Ms. Smith for having their daughters spend more time with them. Teenagers who never before cared about football (or spending time with their dads) now watch every Kansas City game telecast, hoping to see her on camera.
Tracy Wolfson, who along with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will make up the CBS broadcast team, for the Super Bowl. She told The Athletic on February 6, “I can’t tell you the amount of dads who have come up to me and said, ‘My daughter is now watching football because of Taylor Swift.’ I mean, why wouldn’t you take advantage or capitalize or whatever? It’s great for the NFL and it’s great for ratings.” And Romo said, “If that’s what the people want, we should show it.”
The extent of media coverage that Ms. Swift has received must also make CBS, that network that will televise the Super Bowl, and the NFL happy.
“The NFL and CBS hit the lottery… when Kelce’s Chiefs, with Swift in attendance, beat the Baltimore Ravens to advance to the biggest sporting event in the country. And now this year’s Super Bowl has a chance to be the most-viewed U.S.-based telecast of all time,” said Poynter, the non-profit journalism school and research organization.
It can’t be denied that Taylor Swift’s attendance at games has lifted TV ratings, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at a press conference on Feb. 5. “I think it’s great to have her part of it. It creates a buzz, it creates another group of young fans — particularly young women — that are interested in seeing, ‘Why is she going to this game? Why is she interested in this game?”
And CBS agrees. “Taylor Swift is the greatest ad for the Super Bowl in history,” said a post on February 1.
Taylor Swift will not be named the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player. But she should be honored as the NFL’s Most Valuable Person.