February 21, 2024

OPNION: A swift impact to the economy

By the end of 2024, the U.S. will have had a $5.7 billion boost to the economy. It won’t come from our legislature. It’s not a result of tax cuts. No elected or appointed official will have played a role in the billions of dollars.

The credit for that goes solely to Taylor Swift and her voracious band of “Swifties.”

The Eras Tour, dedicated to the singer’s 17-year career, began in March and is expected to wrap in November 2024. The Washington Post reports fans spend approximately $93 million per show in tickets, hotels, merchandise, food, travel and outfits. Swifties spend $3 million on friendship bracelets alone on Etsy.

With the average concert attendance of 72,459 fans, the money equates to each fan spending approximately $1,200 on the experience.

That’s a lot of money, and yet Time Magazine reports 91% of concert-goers say they would go again.

In Los Angeles, where Swift performed six shows, the California Center for Jobs and the Economy predicted a $320 million boost to the county. Kansas City tourism organization Visit KC said the region got an estimated $48 million impact from the tour’s July stop. The Common Sense Institute, which studies the state of Colorado’s economy, predicted the boom from Swift’s Denver performances would add up to $140 million statewide.

Swift is no stranger to accolades, with 12 Grammy Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, 40 American Music Awards, 29 Billboard Music Awards, 23 MTV Video Music Awards, three IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year awards and 101 Guinness World Records.

Now Swift is looking at the highest grossing tour of all time and the highest-grossing domestic release of a concert film ever with “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.”

With an average ticket price of $455, 146 shows and an average attendance of 72,459, The Eras tour would bring in close to $5 billion just in ticket sales. That would easily top Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road,” the previous record holder, grossing more than $887 million from 2018 to 2023, according to Larry Miller, director of the music business program at New York University Steinhardt.

The Eras Tour concert film tallied between $95 million to $97 million during its opening weekend, according to distributor AMC Entertainment. It is the highest-opening concert film of all time.

Swifties have shown up in full force, the opening concert in Glendale, Arizona brought in in more revenue for local businesses than Super Bowl LVII, which was held in February in the same stadium.

Swift is producing the economic equivalent of multiple Super Bowls each week for the past seven months.

Though Swift is the one performing, it’s the Swifties who are spending the billions of dollars. But let’s talk about what Swift does behind the scenes.

People reported Swift gave $55 million in bonuses to her Eras Tour workers. Every truck driver on the tour was given an extra $100,000 this summer, and she gifted bonuses to sound technicians, caterers, dancers and other staff.

In addition, Swift has gone above and beyond to help end food insecurity in the cities she performs in.

Food Lifeline in Seattle said Swift’s donation allowed them to provide “hundreds of thousands of pounds” of fresh produce to families in Western Washington.

The Houston Food Bank said Swift’s donation helped gain awareness to drive donations.

The Tarrant Area Food Bank in Texas said Swift is a catalyst for social change. “When Taylor donates, people follow.”

Swift has not publicized a single donation, rather it’s been the food banks going public to thank the global pop star for her contributions.

In addition to concert and movie sales, Swift’s bonuses and donations, some groups are getting creative in taking advantage of the “Swift Effect.”

Animal shelters have used Swift’s love for cats to raise adoptions in tour cities. In California, Susie Cakes sold $50,000 worth of Swift-themed cupcakes. Seattle’s Japonessa Sushi Cocina dished out $10,000 in “Reputation” sushi rolls and glitter-filled cocktails. And in Kansas City, Donutology filled orders for 20,000 Eras-themed donuts.

Now Swift’s personal life is making an economic impact as she has started dating Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce.

Some people will say this is a publicity stunt, and while I do believe this happens in the realm of fame, I don’t think this is one of those situations.

As you can see above, Swift has no need for additional fame, and Kelce is one of the NFL’s best tight ends. He also has a popular podcast, “New Heights,” with his brother Jason Kelce.

Swifties have blown up Kelce’s jersey sales. Fanatics reported a 400% increase in his jersey sales, putting him in the top five players in the NFL.

CNN Business reported ticket sales increased 40% for the New York Jets game against the Chiefs with Swift in attendance.

Some football fans have been disgruntled with the NFL’s relentless broadcasting of the relationship, but I say let the Swifties in! They have shown they can change the world.

Cheyenne Roche

CHEYENNE ROCHE

Originally from Wisconsin, Cheyenne has a journalism and political science degree from UW-Eau Claire and a passion for reading and learning. She lives in Creston with her husband and their two little dogs.