Travis Kelce’s Awareness, Popularity See Major Bumps Amid Taylor Swift Buzz

Sports analyst Mark J. Burns looks at the increase in awareness and favorability for the Kansas City Chiefs tight end, who’s rumored to be dating the pop superstar
Share of U.S. adults who said they have heard of and have a favorable opinion of Travis Kelce
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Surveys conducted Sept. 26-28, 2023, among a representative sample of 2,201 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, and Aug. 25-26, 2022, among a representative sample of 615 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-4 percentage points.

September 29, 2023 at 10:31 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • The public's awareness of Travis Kelce, who is rumored to be dating pop sensation Taylor Swift, has seen a 25-percentage-point increase since August 2022, while his favorability has seen a 10-point bump.

  • Given the media buzz, Kelce’s appeal as a spokesman and podcaster should only grow, while sports marketers should test the waters with the music superstar and her loyal following of fans.

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Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour helped boost spending across the country this summer. Now Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is the latest to benefit from the “Karma” singer’s presence.

After Swift captivated the worlds of sports and entertainment by attending Sunday’s Chiefs-Chicago Bears game to watch her rumored love interest, a new Morning Consult survey shows the American public’s awareness of Kelce has jumped 25 points since last year, from 38% in August 2022 to 63% in late September. 

And in more good news for Kelce’s corporate sponsors — which include Nike, Bud Light and State Farm — the Ohio native’s favorability has also increased: 34% of U.S. adults said they have a “very” or “somewhat” favorable opinion of Kelce, compared with 24% who said the same about him last year.

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Given the combined star power of Swift and an NFL Pro Bowler who once starred in a reality dating show, it’s no surprise the public is paying attention: More than half of U.S. adults (56%) said they had seen, read or heard about Swift’s attendance at Sunday’s game. Swifties are clearly following along, too: 68% of self-identified Swift fans said the same.

Travis Kelce’s rising star

The Swift effect was immediate, with Fanatics reporting that sales of Kelce’s jersey had increased by nearly 400%. And the marketing opportunities for Kelce, who has added over 300,000 social media followers since Sunday, should only grow. Sports marketing analyst Bob Dorfman estimated to Insider that the 33-year-old, who won his second Super Bowl in February, could double his nonfootball earnings to $10 million. 

Kelce is also a budding podcaster, co-hosting “New Heights”' with his brother, Jason, an offensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles. This new attention should only help keep the popular program toward the top of the podcast charts. The jovial siblings discussed Travis’ love life on the latest episode, which already has more than 1.9 million views on YouTube.

And while Swift is an undeniable marketing and cultural force, this exposure to football lovers should also benefit the singer-songwriter. (After all, 70% of U.S. adults said they are fans of the NFL, compared with 52% who said they are fans of Swift, per the Morning Consult survey.) Plus, the connection to Kelce provides a potential crossover opportunity for sports marketers to target Swift, whose Eras Tour is expected to gross at least $1 billion in ticket sales. It could be a stretch, but it’s also worth shooting their shot like Kelce did.

The hype likely won’t slow down soon: Swift is reportedly expected to attend the New York Jets-Chiefs game at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 1, which could lead to a ratings bonanza for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” The Chiefs-Bears matchup with Swift in attendance drew 24.3 million viewers on Fox, making it the most watched telecast in Week 3. 

A headshot photograph of Mark J. Burns
Mark J. Burns
Sports Analyst

Mark J. Burns previously worked at Morning Consult as a sports analyst.

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