Travis Kelce reveals how the Taylor Swift effect helped grow his podcast business from dog food ads to being able to choose the sponsors he wants

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Superbowl champion Travis Kelce and his former NFL star brother Jason Kelce are riding high on the success of their podcast New Heights, but they’re not shy about giving some credit to the so-called “Taylor Swift effect“.

In a recent discussion at Cannes Lions—the Oscars equivalent of the advertising world—the Kelce brothers shared how their show has transformed, thanks in part to Travis’s high-profile relationship with the global pop superstar.

“The demographic of the show is shifting,” acknowledged Jason when asked how he felt about their audience morphing from “hairy football fans” to “14-year-old girls.”

Emphasizing the pivotal role fans play in shaping their content, he added: “The fans and the viewers are such drivers of the content. They’re thirsty for things, and that helps us talk about things and helps us come up with a game plan. We’ve talked about things on the podcast that I don’t think we would have ever gotten to without the fans tuning in.”

Travis saw his Kansas City Chiefs jersey sales rocket nearly 400% after Swift was spotted in the crowd for his NFL games in September last year when they began dating, and the All-Pro tight end acknowledged a similar boost in reputation now that Swifties have flocked to his podcast.

Highlighting the importance of adapting to their growing and diverse audience, Travis said: “You’ve got to listen to your viewers. We do have a lot of new football fans coming in, so it’s not just talking football like we would in the locker, but make it more simple so that everybody can follow along and still enjoy the show.”

The success of New Heights has also brought in lucrative sponsorship deals.

“With the show getting bigger, with me and him [Jason] getting bigger and more familiar, bigger brands and more opportunities come our way,” Travis added.

“It really has turned into something I could have never expected. We were happy to have dog food sponsors in the beginning, and now we can kind of pick and choose who we want to represent the podcast.”

Jason echoed this sentiment, noting the growing interest from brands: “There are more opportunities and more brands that want to be part of the show. We’re always trying to figure out the brands that we really identify with and genuinely want to be a part of, and that’s a process that is continually growing as the show grows.”

Craft beer brewer Garage Beer is the Kelces’ current sponsor for their New Heights podcast.

How the Kelces are leveraging football and entertainment

An increasing number of athletes are leveraging their unique position at the intersection of sports and entertainment to build thriving businesses, and the Kelces are proving to be a supremely attractive proposition to advertisers who want to get a piece of the action.

“In the National Football League, we all wear face masks,” Travis said.

“One of the goals [of the podcast] for us was to try and get out from under that face mask and really get into the living rooms of people watching.”

But the unscripted nature of their show has been the real hit, and Jason says he now sees the podcast as an opportunity to bring the sport to a more diverse group of fans and capitalize on the global drive to lift up women’s sport.

“We want to stay loyal to the people that have tuned in from day one,” Jason said.

“But with the demographic shift, it’s really expanded. Everything that’s transpired over the past year [with Travis dating Taylor] has given reasons for girls to get involved in a sport where previously there wasn’t that much interest. Now, dads are hanging out with daughters, there’s worlds colliding, and our show gets to be another place where those worlds collide, which is awesome.”

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