Football is awesome, and until this year, Taylor Swift had been missing out.
She said it herself in an interview with “TIME” magazine after she was named its “Person of the Year” last Wednesday.
The reverse is true, as well — Taylor Swift is awesome, and until this year, the NFL hadn’t fully embraced the effect the superstar could have on its business. When Swift started dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce this fall, however, The Swift Effect became an undeniable truth.
Sales of Kelce’s No. 87 jersey spiked nearly 400 percent after Swift visited Arrowhead Stadium for the first time, according to sports apparel company Fanatics. That Week 3 game averaged 24.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched television program of the week. StubHub reported that searches for Chiefs tickets tripled, and Kelce’s Instagram following jumped by more than 380,000 people.
The Chiefs will be in Foxborough on Sunday for a Week 15 matchup that recently got bumped out of prime time. What are the chances Swift comes to the rescue of the ailing Patriots, who are 3-10 and in need of a quick infusion of enthusiasm from their fan base?
It’s hard to make a conclusive statement, as Swift is famous for her ability to stay out of the public eye when she doesn’t want her plans to be known. Regardless, here’s the evidence that points to a possible Swift sighting at Gillette Stadium:
1. She has a history at Gillette Stadium
Gillette Stadium is a place of miracles for Swift and her fans.
On June 25, 2011, Swift took the stage for the first night of back-to-back concerts in her Speak Now Tour. Everything was going according to plan. Then, about halfway through the set, a thunderstorm unleashed torrents of rain on 50,000 fans.
Ryan Davis, writing for the Globe, reflected on that performance 10 years later, writing that “just as the skies broke open, Swift began singing ‘Fearless,’ the title track of her second album, the chorus of which includes the lines: And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance / In a storm in my best dress. Glittering from head to toe — even her guitar was bedazzled — Swift strutted out from under the awning that shielded her from the elements and performed the rest of the song, and the concert, in the pouring rain.”
Thus began the myth of Swift’s “rain shows,” and with it came a new significance to Gillette Stadium, which was also the first NFL stadium she headlined.
In May of this year, it happened again. The rain came down over tens of thousands of screaming fans, and she played “Fearless.” And she danced around in a storm in her best dress. While in concert, Swift referred to Foxborough as the “most joyful place on Earth.”
Beyond her three Eras Tour shows at Gillette Stadium, it doesn’t appear Swift has spent much time in New England this year. Her jet landed briefly in Bangor last weekend for a refuel between London and Kansas City, and she owns a beachfront vacation home in Westerly, R.I. (which was the subject of her song “The Last Great American Dynasty”).
Perhaps her history in Foxborough will draw her back.
2. She doesn’t appear to have any scheduling conflicts
Because Swift is arguably the most famous woman in the world, her two private jets — whose movements are tracked on an Instagram account run by an American college student — zip from place to place, delivering the superstar wherever she needs to go. She landed in Kansas City Sunday for the Chiefs’ game (they lost to the Bills). Does she have anywhere else to go?
This is conjecture, of course, and could be subject to change, but let’s take a look at the facts:
Swift doesn’t kick off the next leg of her Eras Tour until February. The Grammy Awards — Swift has six nominations — also are that month, and there aren’t any major music award shows until the new year. She already attended the premiere for her Eras Tour film in Los Angeles in October, and she jetted to London for Beyonce’s Renaissance Tour film preview at the end of November.
By all accounts, it appears Swift’s public schedule is free and clear.
3. The contents of her ‘TIME’ interview
Perhaps the most convincing indicator of whether Swift will make an appearance at the Patriots-Chiefs game is the contents of her interview with “TIME”, which published last week.
In addition to expressing her newfound love for football (“Football is awesome, it turns out,” she said. “I’ve been missing out my whole life.”), Swift said an essential part of her relationship with Kelce is showing support for each other’s careers.
“When you say a relationship is public, that means I’m going to see him do what he loves, we’re showing up for each other, other people are there and we don’t care,” Swift told “TIME”. “The opposite of that is you have to go to an extreme amount of effort to make sure no one knows that you’re seeing someone. And we’re just proud of each other.”
(It’s important to note that earlier this year, Swift and longtime romantic partner Joe Alwyn broke up after six years together, a period characterized by a dearth of public appearances together.)
Some NFL fans complain Swift gets too much airtime during games, but their criticism doesn’t affect Swift, who has bigger priorities when attending games.
“I’m just there to support Travis,” she said. “I have no awareness of if I’m being shown too much and pissing off a few dads, Brads, and Chads.”
4. Look at the games she has attended this year
Swift has appeared at six games this season, all of which were projected on paper to be Chiefs victories. The Chiefs’ visit to New England fits the bill, as the reigning Super Bowl champions heavily outmatch the lowly Patriots. She has attended two games outside Kansas City this year, at the Meadowlands in Week 4 and at Lambeau Field in Week 13. Her jet patterns indicate that traveling long distances is not a limiting factor.
The Chiefs are 4-2 in games Swift has attended this year. Their last two losses, to the Packers and Bills, however, both came with her there.
Here’s the list of the NFL games Taylor Swift has attended this season
Week 3 vs. Chicago: Swift in attendance (Chiefs win, 41-10)
Week 4 at New York Jets: Swift in attendance (Chiefs win, 23-20)
Week 5 at Minnesota: Swift did not attend
Week 6 vs. Denver: Swift in attendance (Chiefs win, 19-8)
Week 7 vs. Los Angeles Chargers: Swift in attendance (Chiefs win, 31-17)
Week 8 at Denver: Swift did not attend
Week 9 vs. Miami: Swift did not attend
Week 10: Chiefs’ bye week. Kelce attends Eras Tour concert in Buenos Aires and Swift changes a lyric in her song “Karma” as a way of hard-launching her relationship with Kelce
Week 11 vs. Philadelphia: Swift did not attend after deadly heat and medical emergencies marred her performances in Rio De Janeiro
Week 12 at Las Vegas: Swift did not attend, as she was performing in Sao Paulo
Week 13 at Green Bay: Swift in attendance (Chiefs lose, 27-19)
Week 14 vs. Buffalo: Swift in attendance (Chiefs lose, 20-17)