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The true impact Taylor Swift has on the NFL (Op-Ed)

Amid the blossoming romance between Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce and thirteen-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift, dedicated football fans have expressed their distaste for how often the camera pans over to Ms. Swift in the audience as she cheers on her boyfriend. Griping online about how Swift has “ruined” the NFL, fans were concerned that last night’s Super Bowl LVIII would be focused solely on Ms. Swift and not the game itself. However, Ms. Swift has brought a vast, new viewership to the NFL — young women.

The NFL has a predominantly male audience, one that can be quite toxic to women who express interest in the sport. But why are we gatekeeping football from a burgeoning new fanbase?

The Super Bowl was not turned into the “Taylor Swift show:” when fans did catch a glimpse of Taylor Swift on screen, it was for a brief second at most, along with Blake Lively, Ice Spice, and Lana Del Rey. No one seems to be worried about the other stars who accompanied Ms. Swift stealing the spotlight. The focus of the game was purely on the 49ers and the Chiefs as they battled for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Women may have been only watching the Super Bowl for Usher’s halftime show performance and glimpses of their favorite popstar, but the NFL is gaining lifetime fans in the process. It is difficult to watch an intense, close game and not become entranced and encapsulated by the energy of the packed stadium, the talent and strength of the players, as well as the brilliant, booming voices of the broadcasters.

Football is truly a sport for everyone and always has been. Even if Mr. Kelce and Ms. Swift split up, or Mr. Kelce retires, young women have found the magic and fandom within the NFL. The Swifties have always been a dedicated, loyal, and fierce fanbase. That unyielding devotion just may have extended to football after last night’s Super Bowl. Young women have found something new to get excited and passionate about; what a beautiful thing that is.

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