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The rise of social media has ushered in a new era in sports turning athletes into celebrities and the sports world into a 24/7 spectacle. Athletes private lives have now become public interest.
This change means that athletes personal lives are under intense scrutiny, with fans eager to uncover every detail of their lives and brands vie for the public approval and edorsment of these sporting personalities.
Taylor Swift’s impact on the NFL is interesting to study as the NFL is the most watched sport in the United States yet it only has a very small portion of fans in other countries. Swift’s romance with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travic Kelce has generated a lot of interest in the NFL worldwide. Fanatics have reported a 400% increase in sales of Kelce jerseys since Swift first appearance at the Chicago Bears game back in spetember. Not only that but an average of 124,090 more people watch the game when she is in attendance. Kelce has also gained 383,000 new followerson instagram further showing the positive impact swift has had.
However, fans have argued that the mass showing of the Blank space singer is taking away from the sport itself and some have even gone as far as to say that she is “ruining football”. They also argue that people are more interesting in seeing Taylor Swift content than they are in actually watching the game. According to Forbes the New York Post has brought to light that the NFL exerted pressure on its broadcast partners to air complimentary advertisements for Swift’s upcoming movie during recent NFL games. This has made fans feel as if the game is less about passion and more about a way to make more money.
In addition, social media has become a marketing tool to promote sporting teams. A notable example is Neymar’s move to PSG, not only was it the most expensive singing in the history of football (220M€) it was also a way for PSG to attract more fans. Indeed many of PSG’s fans come from Brasil. According to PSG’s website they have 6.2 million fans in the country which is where the majority of their Instagram followers live. Furthermore, after PSG announced the signing of Lionel Messi they gaigned 300 millions insagram followers and Messi’s shirt sold out in just under 30 minutes which is the fastest selling shirt for the club. Additionally, when Messi left the club last season the club lost 800 000 followers (according to the daily mail) further showing that Messi is not only an exceptional player but also a marketing tool that influences how the club was seen.
In short, The rise of social media and celebrity culture has made its way into sports and transformed the role of athletes, making them influential figures once theyre off the filed. The impact Taylor Swift has had on the NFL and both Neymar’s and Messi’s move to PSG underscore the profound influence that celebrities can have on the public’s perception of both athletes and teams.