Three years after Travis Kelce was drafted into the Nationwide Soccer League, the tight finish courted 50 contestants, one from every state, for a “Bachelor”-esque courting present on E! Leisure that drew little discover.
His profile has risen considerably since “Catching Kelce” aired in 2016. He has received two Tremendous Bowls with Kansas Metropolis — catching a landing in every — and earned eight Professional Bowl picks whereas dabbling as a media character, hosting a “Saturday Night Live” episode and helming a well-liked soccer podcast.
However by way of maximizing his superstar, nothing compares to Kelce’s brush with the aura of Taylor Swift, a 12-time Grammy winner whose Eras Tour this 12 months has shattered live performance information and even registered seismic exercise.
Kelce and Swift, each 33, have remained quiet about whether or not they’re mates or a pair, or simply two celebrities making an attempt to leverage one another’s fame. However followers repeatedly dissect Swift’s courting life and failed relationships, which she has written about in her personal songs.
After weeks of hypothesis a couple of connection between Kelce and Swift, who broke up with the actor Joe Alwyn this 12 months, she attended Kelce’s sport at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas Metropolis, Mo., on Sunday, watching from a luxurious suite together with his mom because the Chiefs trounced the Chicago Bears. Fox cameras panned to Swift’s response almost each time Kelce touched the ball. The singer’s devoted swarm of followers additionally tuned in, with a number of posting on social media that they had been watching soccer for the primary time.
Swift, carrying a red-and-white outfit that matched Kansas Metropolis’s colours, was then seen leaving the stadium with Kelce.
Regardless of Kelce’s relative fame within the sports activities world, changing into a part of the frenzied dialog round Swift’s each transfer is one other ballgame. Kelce now has 3.2 million followers on Instagram. Swift has 273 million.
“This places him on a totally completely different aircraft from the place he was as a celeb,” mentioned Daniel Durbin, a professor of communication on the College of Southern California. “That is superstar on steroids, and it has a robust impression.”
As skilled athletes close to retirement of their 30s and early 40s, many start to plot their subsequent profession strikes. Some grow to be broadcasters, whereas others turn to Hollywood. LeBron James, the star basketball participant, has began his personal tequila model and mentioned he needs to personal a workforce.
That Kelce and Swift had been in the identical stadium this weekend introduced collectively two fandoms that don’t usually overlap. A spokesman for Fanatics, the N.F.L.’s official retailer, mentioned that gross sales of Kelce’s jersey had spiked by 400 % as of Monday.
Coaches and gamers from throughout the N.F.L. additionally took discover.
Invoice Belichick, the Patriots coach identified for gruff solutions to reporters’ questions, mentioned on a radio present that “Travis Kelce’s had quite a lot of large catches in his profession — this might be the largest.” The star Cowboys defender Micah Parsons posted on X, previously referred to as Twitter, that one girl “can change your life!!!”
Movie star relationships within the N.F.L. are usually not new, however they’re usually reserved for star quarterbacks who contact the ball each play. Russell Wilson married the singer Ciara in 2016; Tom Brady, who received seven Tremendous Bowls, spent 16 years with the mannequin Gisele Bündchen earlier than they divorced final 12 months.
It’s rarer, however not unimaginable, for a good finish to drive the nationwide dialog. However Kelce, propelled by his fashionable outfits, trimmed beard and haircut and his charismatic character, has emerged as one of many N.F.L.’s most marketable stars. Earlier than Swift, his fame had crescendoed due to a candid podcast he hosts together with his brother, Jason, the middle for the Philadelphia Eagles. (Their relationship was a well-liked subject earlier than final season’s Tremendous Bowl, by which the Chiefs narrowly defeated the Eagles.)
On their weekly podcast, “New Heights,” the Kelces focus on their lives as skilled athletes and converse with high-profile company like Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell. It was additionally the place the Kelce-Swift story line started.
In July, Travis Kelce mentioned on his podcast that he had wished to offer Swift a friendship bracelet throughout her live performance tour cease in Kansas Metropolis, however that she had declined to fulfill him in an effort to save her voice. Final week, amid rumors that the celebrities had been courting, Kelce confirmed in an ESPN interview solely that he had invited Swift to a sport.
“I informed her that, ‘I’ve seen you rock the stage in Arrowhead. You might need to return see me rock the stage in Arrowhead, and see which one’s somewhat extra lit,’” Kelce mentioned.
No matter occurs with Kelce and Swift, the eye could possibly be benefiting them each.
Her live performance film, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” releases subsequent month, and he’s already pursuing a profession outdoors sports activities. He informed The Los Angeles Times this summer season that he thought-about Peyton Manning, the Corridor of Fame quarterback and founding father of the content material firm Omaha Productions, a mentor, and he lately signed with the highly effective media conglomerate Creative Arts Agency.