February 25, 2024

Superstar Swift brings megawatt star power to Super Bowl

LAS VEGAS, Feb 11 — The Super Bowl got an early jolt of excitement yesterday when enormous TV screens around the cavernous stadium showed pop superstar Taylor Swift arriving at the Las Vegas Allegiant Stadium some two hours before kick-off.

Swift is in Las Vegas to watch tight end boyfriend Travis Kelce and his Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers, to end a week-long will-she-won’t-she saga that has dominated the lead-up to the glitzy Vegas blockbuster.

A punishing travel schedule in which she has flown from Japan to the US and will then jet to Australia for tour commitments meant her presence was not a foregone conclusion, and when the television screens showed Swift — wearing a black top, black jeans, and with a red Chiefs jacket over her shoulder — a ripple of cheers went around the still-mostly empty stadium.

Videos of the “Shake if Off” singer walking through the bowels of the stadium greeting friends began rapidly appearing on social media.

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Swift has attended 12 Chiefs games since she began dating Kelce last year, boosting already sky-high NFL ratings. There had been fears she could miss the biggest game of all, though, due to scheduling conflicts with her “Eras Tour” which had her performing in Tokyo on February 10, the night before the Super Bowl.

The singer, who last weekend won the Grammy Award for album of the year for a record fourth time will not be in the US for long. She is scheduled to head to Australia for seven sold-out concerts, starting in Melbourne on February 16.

Swift, and her army of devotees known as “Swifties”, brings a megawatt star power to the NFL and the Swift-Kelce love story marks a collision between two of the most powerful forces in American pop culture.

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As shirt sales spike and viewership grows, the romance has brought millions of dollars of added brand value to the Chiefs and the NFL, according to research done by Apex Marketing Group.

“Taylor Swift’s association with Travis Kelce and appearances at the Chiefs game has generated an equivalent brand value of US$331.5 million (RM1.58 billion) for the Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL” said Apex President Eric Smallwood to Reuters in an email.

Many fans in Las Vegas for the extravaganza were hoping she would turn up. “More women need to watch NFL. We need to get more involved in sports. I think it’s great … so go, Taylor,” Donna Collier, a 61-year-old football fan from Kentucky, laughed earlier in the week.

Pam Bortz, a 57-year-old ‘Swiftie’ from South Carolina, agreed: “I think it is a wonderful thing. She is an awesome person and it just really adds to the excitement of being here for the Super Bowl.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could be forgiven for rubbing his hands in glee, and earlier this week told reporters it was great to have Swift part of the NFL story.

“Having the Taylor Swift effect is a positive,” Goodell said. “They’re — both Travis and Taylor — are wonderful people and they seem very happy. She knows great entertainment and I think it is great to have her a part of it.

“Obviously it creates a buzz … another group of young fans that are interested and saying ‘why is she going to this game?’”

The defending champion Chiefs are taking on the San Francisco 49ers in the 58th edition of the NFL’s title game at Allegiant Stadium.

For the Chiefs, victory would mean a second successive Super Bowl and third in five years. The 49ers are seeking a record-tying sixth Super Bowl title in their eighth appearance in the NFL’s championship game. — Reuters pic

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