blossoms on trees in the spring
News and Announcements

Montclair Social Media Study from Jets-Chiefs Game Shows Swift-Kelce Relationship Generated More than Four Times as Many Positive Posts as Negative Ones

Posted in: School of Communication and Media News

A graph showing severe spikes in data related to Taylor Swift during the Chiefs and Jets game on October 1.
Social Media mentions about Taylor Swift spiked after she was shown on the television broadcast throughout the game.

 *Data Suggests Attempts to Politicize the Relationship were Drowned Out by Positive Sentiment*

A team of faculty from the Joetta Di Bella and Fred C. Sautter III Center for Strategic Communication in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University today released a study analyzing social media data during last evening’s NFL primetime game between the host New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs. The game took on more significance early in the season due to an evolving relationship between pop icon Taylor Swift and Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce that has dominated the social media conversation since Swift attended a Chiefs home game on Sept. 24.

Highlights from the study utilizing Brandwatch, Tweetbinder and Google Trends from the School’s Center for Strategic Communication include:

  • Initial analysis conducted on X (formerly Twitter) shows that as the game began, there was a 118% increase in mentions of Swift-Kelce over the previous seven-day period. Platform activity showed a surprisingly low decrease in continued activity after the game with activity at midnight EST remaining greater than the highest total of Swift-Kelce tweets in the previous seven days.
  • Data suggests that there were consistent attempts to hijack discussion during the game with political statements about vaccination and the perceived political stances of Swift and Kelce. The period of the game brought a 1941% increase in content politicizing the Swift-Kelce relationship. While such instances of “hate jacking” are increasingly common in social media spaces, this particular event appears to have hate content largely drowned out by sentiment that was supportive and positive.
  • Despite this and other notable divisive content occurring on social media during the game, sentiment remained largely positive towards the Kelce/Swift connection. Data analysis from posts on X shows that people were more than four times as likely to express positive sentiment than negative sentiment (82% positive content posted compared to only 18% negative).
  • When Swift appeared on the NBC broadcast during the game, social media chatter spiked considerably after Kelce’s first catch (8:25 p.m. EST), after a Chiefs touchdown (8:39 p.m.), after a Jets punt (8:47 p.m.), at the end of the third quarter (10:40 p.m.) and the conclusion of the game at 11:18 p.m. A graph is linked in the full study below.
  • Before Sunday night’s game, online searches for Swift topped interest in the Chiefs. As the game unfolded, interest in the Chiefs surpassed that of Swift.
  • Trending topics during the game also focused on conversations surrounding Swift’s celebrity squad. Swift’s A-list celebrity friends (e.g., Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, Sabrina Carpenter, Sophie Turner, etc.) gained prominence in social mentions during the game.
  • Online users are interested in learning more about Kelce as an individual player (e.g., his college football team, his jersey number, his net worth, etc.) separate from his relationship with Swift.
  • In Google Trends analysis, Chief fans demonstrated strong curiosity over whether Swift would show up to support Kelce.

“Whether this is a romance or just a friendship that helps promote the enterprises of two smart business people, it’s supremely fun and a much needed distraction,” said Professor Kelly Whiteside who leads the Sports Communication program in the School of Communication and Media. “Sports news mainly crosses over to the mainstream for serious reasons such as arrests or for important social justice issues. This is cotton candy — sweet fluff for sports fans and ‘Swifties’. Plus, it’s enormous for the NFL, which is attracting a new demographic  — girls doing hand hearts and watching football in prime time.”

“The sports and entertainment worlds in America have never collided quite like this before,” Whiteside continued. “The only other pairing that compares is Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe who were together more than a half century before Instagram and TikTok. When you combine the passion of Swifties with the obsession of NFL fans, the world’s biggest music star with a generational talent whose fame has transcended the country’s preeminent sport, you get a pop culture tsunami.”

The full study, which can be found here was conducted by faculty Dr. Bond Benton, Dr. Yi Luo, and Dr. Jin-A Choi and Professor Kelly Whiteside. It is the tenth study released from the School’s Joetta Di Bella and Fred C. Sautter III Center for Strategic Communication, which provides social media analytics tools and training for faculty and students for classroom learning and research projects.




About the School of Communication and Media: Founded in 2012, the School of Communication and Media offers a range of dynamic programs in communication and media to a talented and diverse student population of over 1,800. Offering degrees in film and television, social media and public relations, advertising, journalism and digital media, sports communication, communication and media studies, animation and visual effects, and an MA in public and organizational relations, the School prepares the next generation of communication and media practitioners and leaders. The School houses award-winning student programs that include WMSC Radio, The Montclarion newspaper, Hawk Communications Agency, the Red Hawk Sports Network, Hawk+ OTT streaming platform, and News Lab, as well as the Center for Cooperative Media, which serves the public by working to grow and strengthen local journalism. Student projects and programs have recently received national recognition from PRSSA’s Bateman Competition, an Edward R Murrow Award, several Marconi Award nominations, and a College Television Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.


Media Contact: Keith Green, School of Communication and Media, 973-655-3701 or