Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and the NFL’s Roger Goodell could not have planned tonight’s “Thursday Night Football” scenario any better.
Two of the world’s most famous celebrities — Taylor Swift and LeBron James — are converging for Amazon Prime Video’s coverage of tonight’s Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos game.
Depending on the quality of the game, it could be Amazon’s most-watched TNF stream ever, topping the record 15.1 million viewers for Philadelphia Eagles vs. Minnesota Vikings in Week 2.
Pop superstar Swift will be live in attendance at her third NFL game over the past four weeks to cheer on Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
As first reported by Front Office Sports, James, Maverick Carter, and Paul Rivera will debut this season’s alternate stream of “TNF in The Shop” from Los Angeles; among the guests will be comedy superstar Will Ferrell.
Amazon plans to lean into Swift’s expected attendance, while still keeping the game the main focus of its coverage, said sources. Look for frequent cutaways to shots of her in a luxury box — especially if the game is a blowout — and possible commercials for Swift’s Eras Tour concert film, which premieres Friday.
As one source said, Amazon will have fun with Swift’s presence like it would if Beyonce were at Arrowhead Stadium.
The NFL’s embrace of Swift — and her legions of female fans — has outraged some pigskin purists, who warn the league has gone overboard.
During their broadcasts, Fox and NBC were ripped for showing the “Love Story” singer too much. NBC even ordered up a Swift-themed opening for Chiefs vs. Jets on “Sunday Night Football.”
Meanwhile, the NFL took heat for having fun with Swift’s newfound Chiefs fandom on its Twitter and Instagram feeds. Even Kelce, who’s never met a camera he didn’t like, opined the league was overdoing it.
The NFL issued a statement defending its Swift coverage.
“The Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce news has been a pop cultural moment we’ve leaned into in real-time, as it’s an intersection of sport and entertainment, and we’ve seen an incredible amount of positivity around the sport,” the league told ESPN.
But it’s hard to fault the NFL for leaning into both superstars from a business standpoint. The NFL wants to hoover up every possible viewer; especially among female sports fans and hoopsters.
Between them, Swift and King James boast nearly 700 million social media followers across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Swift has 448.4 million followers across those three platforms alone. James accounts for 237.7 million.
If Swifties adopting the NFL drive some fans to gnash their teeth and rend their jerseys, so be it. As Kelce tells TNF reporter Taylor Rooks during an interview appearing tonight: “I embrace it. I love the chaos.”
So do Bezos and Goodell.