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Tampa Bay the only NFL team losing followers as Swift boosts Chiefs

As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan base erodes, a study finds that the rest of the NFL sees growth, particularly in Kansas City, which saw a Taylor Swift-fueled bump.

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 12:30 p.m. December 19, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' fortunes may be rising in the standings, they aren’t on social media.

According to a new study by the sportsbook comparison website My Betting Sites Canada, the Buccaneers are the only team in the NFL to see the number of followers drop since the end of last season. The study found that the team’s followers fell 1.6% between the Super Bowl in February (1.47 million) and early December (1.44 million).

Every other team in the league gained followers during that same time period.

The study, according to a news release, analyzed the number of Instagram followers of all 32 NFL teams’ accounts and compared the number of followers that each team had in the week following the Super Bowl LVII and the week following Thanksgiving 2023.

The Miami Dolphins were No. 4 with a 19.3% increase in the number of followers. And, in what may surprise many, the lowly New York Jets saw a 21.1% increase in Instagram followers since February, placing the team second on the list. (Call it the Aaron Rodgers bump?)

As for who is first, that should be obvious to anyone with a television set or access to the internet. It’s the Kansas City Chiefs.

Although, yes, the team is the defending Super Bowl champion and its charismatic quarterback seems to be on TV all day, the boost has come thanks in large part to a person who has not played a single down this, or any, season: Taylor Swift.

The Chiefs' current Instagram following is at 3.2 million (more than double the number of followers the Buccaneers have), a 21.9% increase since winning the Super Bowl.

The study’s authors report that since Swift, who is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, first attended a game Sept. 24, the team has gained more than 200,000 followers. (Kelce saw internet searches jump 920% that same week.)

“Swifties have taken the team by storm,” the study says, “and Taylor’s frequent appearance at K.C. games in support of her new beau has shot the team to fame among a whole new demographic — and it turns out this is paying off online.”

According to Reuters, in the days after Swift first attended the Kansas City game, StubHub reported that single-day sales for tickets to the Chiefs game in New York versus the Jets the following week more than doubled the previous record for this season, opening day, and that there was a three-fold increase in sales in a 24-hour window for Chiefs home games.

Reuters also reported that Roku saw the largest demographic increase for the Chiefs-Bears game on Sept. 24 was among women ages 18-49, jumping 63% week over week.



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the deputy managing editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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