Taylor Swift themed material on display at a retail store in Kansas City, Missouri (Gerard Edic).

Pop singer Taylor Swift could already be considered at the apex of her career before September. Her Eras Tour has already generated over $1 billion in ticket sales. And Time Magazine named her Person of the Year.

But it was Sept. 24, when Swift made a surprise appearance at Arrowhead Stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs’ home game against the Chicago Bears, to cheer on Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce – who earlier in the summer attempted to give Swift his number and a friendship bracelet – that sent heads rolling. By now, Kelce and Swift are in a relationship and Swift has become a fervent Chiefs fan, having attended multiple games while sporting Chiefs apparel.

The end result, a merging of the Swifties and NFL fan bases, has created a boom not just for football but also put a national spotlight on Kansas City, Missouri, a midwestern locale already experiencing its own growth.

“It’s safe to say it has dominated conversations in Kansas City since that game,” said Garret Prather, vice president of strategic partnerships at Sandlot Goods, a KC-based apparel company. 

Like other KC area companies, Sandlot Goods has jumped on board the Swift train, producing “Team Taylor” pennants and hats and sweatshirts featuring the red and yellow colors of the Chiefs that bear the message, “I’m Just Here for Taylor.”

“They have easily been our best sellers,” Prather said. Sandlot Goods immediately began producing these items after the Sept. 24 game. Prather didn’t detail any specific numbers – since that’s something the company doesn’t usually release, he said – but he did say that wholesale orders “have greatly increased since 2002.”

He attributed part of this success not just exclusively to the sales of Swift apparel but also to the sales of Chiefs’ apparel, considering it’s one of the more popular NFL teams, thanks in part to its newfound success under Coach Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, the star quarterback.

Other local KC businesses have also benefited from Swift’s relationship with Kelce, such as Westside Storey, a vintage shop that ended up selling a vintage Chiefs sweatshirt to Swift herself. Businesses at that shop and others that sell Swift-related merchandise have risen.

While no data yet exists as to the economic impact of Kelce and Swift’s relationship for Kansas City, VisitKC, the local tourism authority, and the Kansas City Economic Development Corporation did release a report detailing the local impact from Swift’s Eras tour since she held two shows at Arrowhead over the summer.

The approximately 134,000 concert attendees contributed $72.7 million for the KC area, supporting 21,150 jobs. Additionally, the concerts raised $5 million in local taxes and $2.2 million in state taxes.

“The Taylor Swift effect on Kansas City has meant that more people are now inquiring about a city they didn’t have top of mind before,” Steven Anthony, vice president of business development at the KC EDC, said in a statement.

The Chiefs themselves have also reaped the benefits.

Sales of Kelce’s jersey jumped nearly 400% after her first Chiefs appearance while Kelce got nearly 200,000 new followers on Instagram overnight, according to Zoomph, an audience analytics firm.

The Chiefs’ social media accounts also did well, experiencing increased engagement, Zoomph noted, such as a 34.40% growth in engagement for the team’s Instagram account and a 26.67% increase for the Facebook page after Swift’s first appearance. The team also experienced more engagement on Stubhub, a ticket exchange platform, while average ticket sale prices for the Chiefs’ next game, with the New York Jets, increased by 26%.

The NFL itself has also seen a boom, receiving a 53% increase in young female viewers during Swift’s first NFL game and millions more female fans tuning into the next game.

“In the short term, the impact has been great. It’s been a lot of fun, a lot more eyeballs on the NFL. It’s been a media frenzy,” Mike Lewis, a marketing professor and analytics expert at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School said. He was a bit skeptical, however, that Swifties have genuinely gotten into football, describing their current interest as a “temporary fad.”

“I don’t think that the Swifties are going to become hardcore Chiefs fans or NFL fans. There might be a few that are converted on the margins,” he said.

He also pointed out how the Chiefs, and Swift herself, could soon become the “villains” of the NFL as they may get pushback from fans of opposing teams who may grow weary of the Swift fanfare. 

“Is there any reason for a Buffalo Bills fan or a Miami Dolphins fan or a Philadelphia Eagles fan to see Taylor Swift and go, ‘Yay, Taylor!’ as she roots for the Chiefs? She’s wearing the enemy’s colors,” Lewis said.

At least on social media that seems to have been the case as some fans have commented critically on NFL posts featuring Swift.

Kelley Wight, an assistant professor of marketing at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business who researches consumer behavior and considers herself a Swifty, said whatever heat Swift may get isn’t enough to deter NFL fans from completely abandoning the game itself. Wight also thinks there’s some staying power with Swifties remaining into football.

Just as Swift has been able to make new fans by changing genres, and introducing her current fans to a new genre they may have not considered, she’s done the same for football.

“This has given people the opportunity to discover something that they otherwise maybe wouldn’t have felt was open to them. There’s been a lot of conversation online that says, ‘Oh, hey, Swifties, you’re new to football. Let’s teach you the rules,’” Wight said. This includes videos on TikTok to an episode of the New Heights podcast, hosted by Travis Kelce and his brother, Jason, a center for the Philadelphia Eagles, where the Kelce brothers detail the rules of football.

The question now is whether or not Swift and Kelce’s relationship is permanent. But one thing experts, Chief fans and Swifties can agree on is the positivity and excitement that has stemmed from it.

“It’s cross pollination that’s good for humanity. I’m all for it if it’s leading to better, happier people,” Prather, of Sandlot Goods, said.