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The Taylor Swift Effect: Swifties check out NFL games

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

For the second week in a row, two universes collided. Last night, it happened under the bright lights of East Rutherford, N.J.

JASON GAY: There are very few things that are just sort of mass events anymore, right? And one of them is Taylor Swift, and another one of them big time is NFL football. This is like, you know, Godzilla and Mothra.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

That's Jason Gay, a sports columnist for The Wall Street Journal. And there's no doubt that Taylor Swift has brought a lot of new eyeballs to the NFL over the past 14 days, especially teenage girls.

FADEL: She's been attending the past two Kansas City Chiefs games in support of her rumored new boyfriend, NFL star Travis Kelce. And for the second straight week, the Chiefs won, beating the New York Jets 23 to 20 on Sunday night.

MARTÍNEZ: Since Swift became Kelce's cheer captain and been on the bleachers, his jersey sales have spiked nearly 400%. And his podcast, "New Heights," reached No. 1 on Apple. Some are calling it the Taylor Swift effect.

GAY: You can't deny the fascination that exists when you combine the forces, you know, when you take, like, two people like this and put them together and in somewhat of an organic fashion, at least at first.

FADEL: Now, of course, we're going to be following this sports pop culture drama through the rest of this NFL season because who isn't and how can you avoid it? But it does beg the question...

MARTÍNEZ: Even though Kelce is a two-time Super Bowl champion, could this new level of attention become a distraction for him on the field?

GAY: He's never had attention like this. Whereas, like, a population of people used to be sitting around and saying, OK - what are his stats today? - now they're looking at, you know, is he a good boyfriend?

MARTÍNEZ: Hey, Leila, did you know who Travis Kelce was before Taylor Swift?

FADEL: No, A. You know how much I know about football, like nothing.

MARTÍNEZ: (Laughter) I knew the answer.

FADEL: So it took the Taylor Swift effect for me, but I'm not a teenage girl. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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