Taylor Swift Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Recording artist Taylor Swift reacts during the first quarter of Super Bowl LVIII between Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL season saw an incredible amount of discussion about music superstar Taylor Swift dating Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce and showing up at many of his games. That led to some broadcaster focus on Swift, and to much more media discussion of the shots of Swift than the relatively-small amounts of time where she was actually shown.

Then, around the discussion of the NFL’s 2024 schedule release this week, there were a lot of questions on how much the league considered Swift into its scheduling formula. That included even a claim on The Dan Patrick Show that Swift’s dates in Toronto affected a Chiefs’ game in Buffalo:

And then, a discussion from NFL director of broadcasting Charlotte Caray on FanDuel TV’s Up and Adams was seen as reinforcing this by some. However, Caray’s comment was specifically about Swift’s tour dates in NFL stadiums. which does not apply to her show in Toronto.


The “Taylor’s definitely a factor this year also” was specifically about Swift dates in NFL stadiums. Which is similar to other musical acts playing in those venues. And that’s what wound up discussed on a NFL conference call about the schedule release with Hans Schroeder (executive vice president, media distribution) and Michael North (vice president, broadcast planning) Thursday. Ben Volin of The Boston Globe asked if Swift’s fall schedule was considered in the NFL schedule-making process, and North said it was. But he said that was only around her dates in league stadiums, and specifically refuted the Buffalo talk.

“We certainly considered the tour dates that hit NFL stadiums,” he said. “I think she’s in Miami, and maybe New Orleans, Indy, we certainly considered those. But one thing we didn’t consider, I saw a lot of conspiracy theorists talking about Kansas City at Buffalo middle of the season when Taylor’s playing Toronto, that one definitely did not hit our radar screen.”

North did say that the Chiefs were a prime focus for the league in scheduling though (readers can have their own opinions on how much that is to do with Swift and how much is to do with them being defending Super Bowl champions), and that some of their games were even held back out of the automated calculations to be manually assigned.

“As far as doling out the Chiefs’ games go, they’re a Cowboys-level asset right now,” he said. “Being able to pull two Kansas City games kind of out of the mix, put them in a TBD black box holding spot for the Saturday-Wednesday round robin at the end, we wanted to make sure we still felt like we could deliver quality Kansas City inventory. To NBC, they got three of them, to ESPN, they get a couple of them, they get a division winner in Tampa Bay coming, they go twice to Arrowhead, which is obviously such an incredible experience and venue for our games.

“Amazon’s getting one, and they really were hoping to see that deployed on Black Friday as they try to build that out. Hans mentioned Fox getting Kansas City-San Francisco, and for Fox only getting one Kansas City, getting maybe the best Kansas City arguably kind of scratches that itch for them. And that still leaves behind eight Kansas City games for CBS.”

The Chiefs are obviously a draw at this point, with some of that about them being Super Bowl champions and some of that being about the Swift-Kelce storyline. But it’s interesting to hear the league’s senior schedule maker say that they explicitly did not consider Swift’s Toronto dates around that Buffalo game, contrary to commentary from Patrick and others. And it’s also interesting to hear him say that they did hold back some Chiefs’ games for prime assignments.

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.