Did the Taylor Swift effect vault this year’s Super Bowl into the record books?Credit…John G Mabanglo/EPA, via Shutterstock
The N.F.L. scores big
In many ways, the N.F.L. couldn’t have asked for a better outcome for the Super Bowl. It got a thrilling overtime victory that cemented the Kansas City Chiefs as the league’s latest dynasty; a well-reviewed halftime show by Usher; a full roster of pricey ads; and, of course, Taylor Swift in person.
It was a powerful reminder of the Super Bowl’s singular perch in America’s cultural landscape, and how that can translate into billions for a juggernaut sports league.
The game was a place to see and be seen. Yes, Swift arrived in time from Japan to cheer on her boyfriend, the Chiefs star Travis Kelce. And A-list celebrities like Jay-Z, Beyoncé and LeBron James were spotted at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Also in attendance were corporate moguls including Elon Musk — who touted a surge in activity on his X social network during the game — Tim Cook of Apple and the Twitter and Block co-founder Jack Dorsey, who was wearing a crypto in-joke T-shirt.
The game could set a record. The broadcast, perhaps aided by an army of Swift fans, may surpass the 115 million viewers who tuned in last year, making that the most-watched show in U.S. history. (Viewership for N.F.L. games has rebounded strongly in recent years; the A.F.C. and N.F.C. championship matches on Jan. 28 accounted for nearly 39 percent of national linear TV viewing.)
That would help explain why advertisers were still willing to fork over $7 million for a 30-second spot during last night’s broadcast. (More on the ads later.) “In this era of fragmentation, the Super Bowl is what television used to be,” Brad Adgate, a veteran media analyst, told The Times.
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