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Sunday, March 3, 2024

The ‘Life-Changing’ Economy of Taylor Swift’s NFL Outfits

  • Swift is a walking red carpet of local businesses, women’s sports apparel, and vintage fan gear.
  • “It is literally a marketer’s dream come true,” a jewelry designer tells ‘FOS.’
Emily Henegar, a baker and content creator, made a batch of NFL-inspired cookies featuring Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.
Cookies by Emily Henegar / @cookieinthekitchen. Credit: Bryan West/The Tennessean-USA TODAY NETWORK

For two months, Susan Bali, the head of marketing at jewelry designer Wove, looked closely at Taylor Swift on television. Bali knew Travis Kelce had bought a custom bracelet from Wove, but she didn’t know whether Swift would ever wear it to a game.

Fast-forward to the AFC championship celebration at M&T Bank Stadium where Swift threw her arms around Kelce, conveniently offering a close-up of Wove’s custom diamond friendship bracelet on national TV. The piece was designed by retired LPGA legend Michelle Wie West and inspired by the friendship bracelets exchanged at Swift’s Eras Tour concerts, Bali says.

“It is literally a marketer’s dream come true,” Bali tells Front Office Sports. “You could not write this better.”

In the 24 hours after Swift wore the bracelet, Wove saw its traffic shoot up 2,260%, and sales increase 477%, according to Bali.

Swift does about as much for a local economy on her tour stops as the Super Bowl does for its host city. What she wears at Chiefs games, and what she might wear to the Super Bowl, holds a power of its own: Swift is a walking red carpet for local businesses, women’s sports apparel, and vintage fan gear.

Sartorial Influence

Back in September, Swift made her first appearance at a Chiefs-Bears game. Afterward, Kelce’s jersey sales went up 400%. The next day, his jersey sales on eBay in the U.S. and Canada increased more than 340%, and Chiefs jersey sales were up more than 460%, according to data the company provided to FOS. Searches in the U.S. and Canada for the tight end went up by more than 150% from August to January, and Chiefs merchandise and apparel sales increased in January about 20% year-over-year, despite making it to the Super Bowl both seasons, according to eBay.

But as Swift attended more games, her fashion started driving sales. She often donned vintage or custom Chiefs apparel, inspiring a trend across the NFL. Searches for retro NFL gear in the U.S. and Canada jumped more than 100% from the start of the season to January, eBay says.

On Oct. 12, Swift wore a Chiefs jacket from Fox Sports sideline reporter Erin Andrews’s sports apparel line. Searches for those jackets on eBay grew in October by more than 3,000% in the U.S. and Canada from the month before.

Chiefs fans wave Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce cutouts at Arrowhead Stadium.

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A similar lift happened in January, when Swift wore a custom Chiefs winter jacket from designer Kristin Juszczyk, who’s married to 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Searches for “custom NFL jackets” on eBay rose more than 2,000% in the U.S. and Canada from December to January.

“The surge in shoppers searching for the custom jackets she wore to games shows the impact that her sartorial decisions have on shoppers, and how they’re coming to eBay to emulate her style,” the company’s VP of global fashion Charis Márquez tells FOS over email.

It’s important to note Swift is not impacting only Chiefs merch sales, but also changing the game for women’s fan apparel, which has historically stuck to pink, sparkly, or V-neck options.

“It’s had an amazing effect,” Andrews told People in the fall. “I’m getting DMs and mentions in pictures of women in our Ohio State gear, our Miami Dolphins gear, our baseball gear as we’re in the World Series.”

Small Business Model

By wearing a bracelet designed by Wove—founded only two years ago and based in Lancaster, Pa.—Swift helped put the company “on the map,” Bali says.

“We feel like a lot of these publications that we’ve gotten a chance to be featured in, and people that we got to connect with in the last week, have just been life-changing for our brand, and something that we might not have been able to do two weeks ago,” Bali says.

Swift has worn apparel at games from at least three local Kansas City businesses, according to the Kansas City Business Journal. One boutique, EB and Co., got a boost after Swift wore its No. 87 Chiefs ring to the AFC championship. Thanks to the surge in sales, the owner and her husband are going to the Super Bowl, she told Business Insider.

If the superstar returns from Tokyo in time for the Super Bowl, expect the Swift Effect to benefit any local or small businesses she models at the biggest game of the year.

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