Another Super Bowl bet emerges: Can Taylor Swift make it from her Tokyo show in time?
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, winning the AFC championship and securing a spot in the Super Bowl. They'll battle the San Francisco 49ers next month, hoping for a repeat of their 2020 victory.
The game is, as always, a big deal for fans of football, memorable TV commercials and elaborate halftime shows. And this year, another fandom is joining in full force: Swifties.
As has been well established, history-making global superstar Taylor Swift is dating history-making Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Her attendance at his games throughout the season has sent NFL ticket sales, TV ratings and Kelce jersey demand soaring, converted scores of new football fans and rankled some rivals along the way.
Swift has been a visible presence on TV screens and social media memes all season, whether she's cheering Kelce on from his VIP box with an array of family members and celebrity friends, leaving Arrowhead Stadium hand-in-hand with him or simply enjoying a snack.
"Taylor Swift still managed to be one of the biggest storylines from that game despite not being on the field," Nora Princiotti, a staff writer at The Ringer (and a Swiftie) told NPR's All Things Considered.
Naturally, Swift fans were quick to wonder: Will she be in the stands at the Super Bowl too?
The answer is surprisingly complicated because Swift has stadiums of her own to fill.
Swift resumes the international leg of her record-breaking Eras Tour just days before the big game. She is scheduled to wrap up the last of four performances at the Tokyo Dome on Saturday, Feb. 10 — the night before the Super Bowl kicks off in Las Vegas, at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 pm PT.
Experts say the answer is theoretically yes. And it won't take a time machine, just a private jet. Luckily, Swift reportedly owns two.
"This is a typical international flight and the turnaround is not very tight," says Kevin O'Leary, the president and CEO of Jet Advisors, a Massachusetts-based aircraft acquisition, brokerage and research firm.
Warning: Things are about to get nerdy.
How exactly Swift can "Come Back ... Be Here"
Swift's show is scheduled to open at 6 p.m. local time and generally runs about three hours and 15 minutes. O'Leary — who is not a Swiftie but holds a PhD in aviation operations — predicts a punctual start.
He says Swift could feasibly fly out of either of Tokyo's main airports: Haneda, which is roughly a 30-minute drive from the Tokyo Dome but requires special permission, and Narita, which is about an hour's drive.
"There will be some logistics [and] clearances before the flight will be allowed to depart," O'Leary wrote. "With either airport the flight should be able to depart Japan within 2 hours of the end of [the] concert."
That puts her potential departure time around 11:30 Saturday night local time, or 6:30 Saturday morning Vegas time.
O'Leary's calculations also assume Swift would be flying in her Dassault Falcon 7X (which has a slightly longer range than her Dassault Falcon 900, according to The Athletic). He says the jet should be able to fly the 4,821 nautical miles to Harry Reid International Airport (KLAS) in 10 to 12 hours.
There are always possible complications, from weather disruptions to the expected challenge of securing a landing slot at the airport, due to enhanced safety procedures in anticipation of high traffic that weekend.
But if all goes according to plan, Swift would arrive in Vegas sometime between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, Feb. 10, thanks to the time change (see this decades-old West Wing clip for an eerily timely — no pun intended — explanation).
That would leave Swift with plenty of time to rest before the game, though O'Leary says she could do so on the plane.
"The aircraft would typically have berthing seats for 4-5 passengers, so the passengers would be able to lay flat, similar to an international business class seat," he explains.
Swift knows private jet travel "All Too Well"
The journey would cost around $45,000, O'Leary estimates. It would generate more than 87,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), according to a calculator from Paramount Business Jets.
But O'Leary says the Falcon 7X is one of the most fuel-efficient jets in the industry, burning 23% less fuel than the category average.
Swift is no stranger to private jet travel: She has logged days' worth of flights crisscrossing the globe for her Eras Tour shows and Kelce's games in recent months and repeatedly faced criticism for the emissions those flights generate.
"Taylor Swift's Jets," a since-deleted Instagram account that monitors her flights, posted in December that her trips generated 138 tons of CO2 emissions in just the prior three months. A spokesperson for Swift has said that she purchased "more than double the carbon credits needed to offset all tour travel" before the Eras tour started in March 2023.
Fans flying commercial may also notice a subtle nod to Swift (and Kelce) on some of the domestic flights headed to the Super Bowl.
Both American and United Airlines have added flights between Kansas City and Las Vegas in advance of the Super Bowl, with fitting flight numbers: 1989 (Swift's birth year and the title of one of her albums) and 87 (Kelce's jersey number).
Swift will be rooting for "Red (Taylor's Version)"
The question of Swift's travel timelines has caused a bit of a frenzy, albeit for different reasons.
Former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy fanned a conspiracy theory about the Super Bowl being rigged to potentially give Swift — who drove a surge in voter registration with a single Instagram post last year — an even better platform to endorse President Biden, hypothetically.
Other reactions were more celebratory. People flooded social media with time travel jokes and jubilant "Traylor" (or Tayvis, or Swelce) videos. Late-night hosts speculated enthusiastically on air about Swift's plans.
Fans were quick to draw comparisons to High School Musical, in which the romantic leads' championship basketball game, academic decathlon and theater audition are all scheduled at the same time. (Vanessa Hudgens, who starred in the movie, endorsed the theory as "hilarious.")
Some of the Swift-related questions will likely translate into Super Bowl bets, not only about whether she'll make it to Allegiant Stadium but what she might do there: appear on screen, be accompanied by other celebrities, get engaged, etc.
Sportsbook Review notes that most legal, regulated U.S. sportsbooks "don't generally offer these types of markets, but it's likely they'll try to capitalize on the extra attention Swift brings to the 2024 Super Bowl."
Swift isn't just bringing the NFL more viewers, but a whole new — and decidedly more feminine — demographic of fans, Princiotti noted.
"The NFL for years and years has been trying to court women and court more women fans, and to be frank, they haven't always been very good at it," she added. "And they have sort of stumbled into this hyper-influencer who's doing a lot of that work for them really well."
A Swift Super Bowl appearance would all but guarantee a huge boost in ratings, with Poynter reporting that it has the chance to become the most-viewed U.S.-based telecast of all time (even if she's only seen in brief glimpses, which a recent New York Times analysis confirmed has so far been the case).
The star-studded event will also feature pregame performances by Reba McEntire, Post Malone and Andra Day, Tiesto as the first-ever "in-game DJ" and a halftime show headlined by Usher. Swift has reportedly turned that gig down twice.
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