Yes, More Women Watched the Super Bowl Because of Taylor Swift

That doesn't mean the NFL fixed the whole thing

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 11: Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates with Taylor Swift after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime during Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates with Taylor Swift after defeating the San Francisco 49ers
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If you’re the NFL and you want Taylor Swift at the Super Bowl so badly that you’re going to rig a highly scrutinized conference championship game, you should do a way better job and not have it end with a one-score difference, where a single play could’ve foiled the entire plan. And if you reeeeeeeally want her and her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, to celebrate a victory in front of dozens of cameras and maybe even commit to marriage, then you probably wouldn’t have the referees blow numerous key calls against his team.

Aside from the dearth of postgame marriage proposals, the NFL did get the storybook ending all the conspiracy theorists of the internet believed was bound to happen: Kelce and Swift (via private jet) made it to the Super Bowl, the Chiefs won and a record-number of people watched the game, which bodes really well for the league’s future broadcast rights deals. And, yes, Swift does appear to have been part of the reason why the game’s TV audience was so big.

According to Nielsen data, reported by Sportico, the largest year-over-year Super Bowl viewership demographic jump came from women aged 18-24. Nearly four million such women tuned in, marking a 24% increase. Men in the same age range also watched at a 20% higher rate.

All of this is noteworthy, the publication points out, because people in that age demographic watch less TV than any other age group, and the rate at which they do so has been falling. But for this year’s Swift-affected Super Bowl, their numbers rose, and her impact doesn’t appear to have ended there.

“Also showing up for Sunday were girls in the 12-17 demo, who were up 11% versus 2023 to 2.91 million, while the boys were up 6%,” Sportico wrote. Viewership of women younger than 50 increased 8%, while men in the same range were up 4%. Women aged 35-64 also watched at a 7% higher clip. “All told, girls and women accounted for a record 47.5% of the Super Bowl audience, as 5 million more females watched this year’s game than was the case a year ago,” Sportico added. “The gap between men and women narrowed to just 6.14 million viewers, which was down from the 7.53 million-person deficit recorded during Super Bowl LVII.”

It remains to be seen if the NFL will retain this new young, female audience. It grew during the regular season, too, but by only marginal amounts. The way things are going with Travis and Tay Tay, though, we might still have that proposal to look forward to. I shudder to think what the conspiracy theorists will come up with to sully the subsequent milestones.

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