Taylor Swift at the AFC Championship Game. Jan 28, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift (center) looks on from the stands during the first half in the AFC Championship football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The discourse around Taylor Swift at NFL games has gotten exhausting on many levels, perhaps especially so when it comes to how much broadcasters do or do not show her. There have been countless media cycles of takes on that, from game broadcasters to executives to media personalities to fans.

But something that often has gone under-discussed in the conversations of “They’re showing her too much!” “No, they’re not.” is just how many broadcasters are actually showing music superstar Swift, who’s at these games to support boyfriend and Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce. And one Reddit user, JPAnalyst, timed that with a stopwatch for CBS’ AFC Championship Game broadcast Sunday. Here’s what he came up with in a post on the /dataisbeautiful subreddit:

[OC] Amount of time CBS allocated to showing Taylor Swift on TV during the AFC Championship game
byu/JPAnalyst indataisbeautiful

It’s remarkable to see the actual numbers amidst all this discourse. Yes, seven shots of Swift feel like a lot, and that’s probably more individual shots than even some key on-field players received. But the total time of 44 seconds, or 0.39 percent of the game time of three hours and nine minutes, is not large.

Yes, that’s game time including commercials. And the amount of actual game footage with actual editorial decisions is lower. But the point stands that this is not a lot of tonnage of Swift footage on the game broadcast. In fact, it’s not much more than the individual local B-roll segments (in this case, 27 seconds of crab cakes and 24 seconds of the local aquarium), and it is less than those B-roll segments combined. (It should be noted, however, that much of the Swift discussion is not about game footage but about social media photos of her, wire service photos of her, takes on her, and more. But none of that has anything to do with the game broadcaster’s editorial decisions.)

People can absolutely still debate if CBS should spend 44 seconds of a game broadcast showing Taylor Swift. Some Swift fans would probably welcome more, especially during a game where Kelce had one of his best performances ever, recording 11 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown and breaking Jerry Rice’s postseason receptions record. (And certainly, if the idea here is actually to attract non-football fans who love Swift, you would probably need more than 44 seconds of footage of her to do that. But the Swift discussion is well beyond just that at this point.)

Some particular football fans and media personalities would likely prefer less footage of Swift. Others don’t really care. And the aforementioned fans might want more. But regardless of what side of that argument you land on, it’s notable to see firm data on just how often she was shown this week. And if she does attend Super Bowl LVIII in two weeks, it will be interesting to see how often that broadcast (also on CBS) shows her.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.