From the Super Bowl to the Swift Bowl - can Taylor Swift swing the 2024 US Election?

From culture, politics, and now economics - we hear from people in Kansas who are feeling the 'Swift Lift', ITV News US Correspondent Dan Rivers reports

The world's biggest pop-star is about to meet America's greatest sporting event - prepare to hear a new portmanteau this weekend: the Swift Bowl. Taylor Swift could bring a record number of viewers to the Super Bowl this weekend where she is expected to watch her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs player, Travis Kelce.

Her presence at games featuring the Chiefs in recent months has radically changed the demographic of those watching, drawing many more young people, particularly women.

But it has also led to a fierce debate about whether her presence is a distraction.

Some ardent National Football League supporters resent the occasional camera coverage of her in the VIP box, often sitting with Travis Kelce’s mother, even though studies have shown on average Taylor Swift is only shown for about 25 seconds per game.

Not much in a three hour sporting epic.

But the debate has also veered into political criticism, incensing far-right pro-Trump activists, who claim her relationship with Kelce is part of a deep state plot, which will culminate in her endorsing Joe Biden at the Super Bowl.

It sounds ridiculous, but the vitriol she is facing is very real.

Taylor Swift has strayed into politics before, speaking out against Republican conservative social policies on women’s rights and discrimination against gay couples.

She also endorsed a Democrat senator in Tennessee in 2018, prompting the then-President Trump to declare he liked her music “25 percent less”.

She endorsed President Biden in 2020, and her Instagram post encouraging fans to vote in 2023 led to 35,000 new registrations in one day.

In her Miss Americana Netflix documentary in 2020, Taylor Swift was outspoken in her criticism of Donald Trump, saying "she wanted to be on the right side of history".

But there is no evidence she is about to endorse Joe Biden this weekend or that her romance with Kelce is anything other than a genuine relationship.

Taylor Swift could bring a record number of viewers to the Super Bowl this weekend. Credit: AP

While she may be wary about straying further into America’s bitterly divided politics, she is exerting considerable economic power. Front Office Sports, a media organisation covering the business of sport, reported Swift has generated a “brand value” of $331.5 million (£264 million) for the Chiefs and the NFL. And, in Kansas City - the ‘Swift lift’ is tangible. Westside Storey, a boutique tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood, selling vintage Chiefs merchandise, has been propelled into the limelight, after Swift wore one of their jerseys.

The owner, Chris Herrington, says he's grateful for the platform Taylor Swift has given his business.

There’s more evidence of her Midas touch at Joe's BBQ Restaurant - a favourite of Travis Kelce’s on the edge of the city.

The manager, Eric Labba, told me that since Swift started dating Kelce, they’ve experienced a significant sales boost.

‘Swiftynomics' isn’t just a gimmicky term to describe the economic effect on cities associated with the popstar. It’s now a subject being studied at the University of Kansas. Misty Heggeness is an associate professor of economics who is writing a book on the subject.

She says each area where Taylor Swift's Eras Tour has been has brought in the same revenue to their local economies as the annual Super Bowl game does.

She’s due to go on tour again in the US in the autumn, generating a considerable net economic benefit for whoever ends up running the country.

But before that all eyes will be on whether she manages to get back from her current tour in Japan to see if Travis Kelce can secure Super Bowl glory for a third time in four years.

The Swift Bowl just wouldn’t be the same without her.

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