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Taylor Swift attends Travis Kelce’s NFL game with Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Sophie Turner and Hugh Jackman

Welcome to Sunday Night Football, Taylor’s version.

It has been exactly a week since pop superstar Taylor Swift showed up at a Kansas City Chiefs NFL game to watch her rumoured love interest, Travis Kelce.

And now she’s gone one better, welcoming Kelce to New York as the Chiefs play the Jets, with Hollywood A-listers Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Hugh Jackman as her guests.

Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, singer Sabrina Carpenter, and Antoni Porowski – co-host of the Netflix show Queer Eye – were also spotted in Swift’s entourage.

Not to be outdone by the stars of Deadpool (Reynolds) and X-Men (Jackman), Ant-Man actor Paul Rudd – who is a dedicated Chiefs fan – was pictured beaming on the field with Kelce ahead of the game.
The official NFL account tweeted Swift “Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you,” in a reference to her lyrics, and shared footage of her greeting people at the stadium.

This Swifties/NFL crossover has suddenly become the biggest storyline in the most popular sport in America.However, the New York Jets were not fanning any flames inside the stadium that might help ignite Kelce.

The jumbo screens showed every celebrity in the building other than Taylor Swift and her crew. Jeremy Strong, who played Kendall Roy in Succession was twice splashed up on the screens.

If it was a tactic to rein in the Chiefs, it ultimately failed with the Jets losing a thriller 23-20. But Kelce did not score a touchdown like he did last week, much to the delight of some Jets fans who were wearing “Who is Taylor Swift Anyway?” T-shirts.

The television broadcast had no such qualms, frequently panning to Swift.

Outside MetLife Stadium (which is actually in New Jersey), there were masses of fans partying, tossing footballs and soaking up the sunshine after a week of pelting rain.

Though most wore a sea of emerald green (the colours of the New York Jets) there were pockets of red jerseys for last year’s Super Bowl winners – the Chiefs.

Lily Sologuren, 16, was there with her family and told BBC News she was a “pretty big Swiftie” and had even seen her Eras concert at this same stadium a few months ago.

Her mum was quick to point out Lily was a Chiefs fan long before Swift entered the picture.

“Personally, I don’t like it because I can’t have like, have both my worlds colliding, you know?” Lily said when asked about Swift and Kelce.

But she was still “very excited” at the prospect of seeing Swift on the big screen at the game.

And perhaps just as important as seeing Swift was the memes that will come out of it.

The Chiefs fan said she was glued to TikToks of dads and daughters arguing if Taylor put Kelce on the map. For the record, Lily said he didn’t need any help.

But Kelce’s profile is on the rise. His jersey sales rocketed up by 400% after Swift was seen in the luxury box last week alongside his mum, Donna. The tight end has gained hundreds of thousands of new followers on social media since he got in his convertible with the popstar after last week’s game and they drove off into the night.

Fox Sports said it was the week’s most-watched telecast across all networks, pulling in about 24.3 million viewers. Fox said there was a strong female audience.

The memes followed, with Swifties eagerly sharing rules of the sport to fellow newcomers. There was a conspiracy about Swift entering Arrowhead stadium hidden inside a popcorn machine, and a tweet about her game day meal of “a piece of chicken with ketchup and seemingly ranch” became a viral sensation.

Even New York City’s iconic Empire State Building lit up in red and white, with the building’s social media account sharing a photo with the caption: “Ketchup and seemingly ranch.”

Further fuelling the flames of a romance, Kelce took to his popular podcast New Heights after the game to give a “shout-out to Taylor for pulling up” and added: “That was pretty ballsy, I just thought it was awesome.”The NFL clearly knows it is sitting on a goldmine with this love story. The fanbase is hardly in need of more recruits, but the Swift economy is such an unstoppable machine that even the sport honchos cannot ignore it.

A promotional ad on NBC for Sunday night’s primetime game features Swift’s song Welcome to New York and ends with a clip of Kelce staring up at the stands.

The Chiefs’ TikTok account got in on the action on Saturday with a video of the team’s players exchanging friendship bracelets. It’s a cheeky nod to Kelce saying in a July that he tried to give the Karma singer a friendship bracelet with his phone number on it during her Eras tour.The comments underneath that TikTok show why the NFL will be hoping this rumoured relationship lasts: “Can’t wait to watch you guys kill it tomorrow, go Chiefs!!! (Been a fan since Sunday)” one woman says.

“If you would have told me a month ago I would be watching football TikToks, I wouldn’t believe it,” another comments.

This Taylor Swift economy is not just a meme. Her Eras tour dominated the summer. Demand for tickets crashed retailer websites and sparked a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into Ticketmaster and Live Nation. Lawmakers frequently mentioned Swift during the hearing.

A report from the Federal Reserve said May was the strongest month for hotel revenue in Philadelphia since the onset of the pandemic, “in large part due to an influx of guests for the Taylor Swift concerts in the city”.

Swift is releasing her album 1989 (Taylor’s Version) in late October and her concert film Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is expected to rake in $100m (£81m) when it is released in cinemas mid-October.

Meanwhile Kelce’s podcast has become a hit, and he recently released a documentary about his career alongside his brother, fellow NFL star Jason Kelce.

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