Opinion | Get ready, America: Taylor Swift is headed to the Super Bowl – Poynter

Know which television network is absolutely thrilled this morning?
Why? Because Taylor Swift is going to the Super Bowl. Not to perform, but almost assuredly to watch her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, play in the big game. Swift is scheduled to perform in Tokyo on Feb. 10, the day before the Super Bowl, but reports are she plans to be back in time for the game. Of course she’ll be there!
And CBS is broadcasting this year’s Super Bowl.
The NFL and CBS hit the lottery on Sunday when Kelce’s Chiefs, with Swift in attendance, beat the Baltimore Ravens to advance to the biggest sporting event in the country. And now this year’s Super Bowl has a chance to be the most-viewed U.S.-based telecast of all time.
That record was set last year when 115.1 million viewers across all platforms watched the Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s already been proven that Swift’s attendance at games has lifted TV ratings. When she attended a Sunday night game back in October, the game on NBC drew 27 million viewers — the most for a Sunday game since last season’s Super Bowl. At the time, viewership among teen girls in particular jumped an incredible 53% for “Sunday Night Football.” In addition, ratings among women ages 18-24 went up 24%, while viewership for women over the age of 35 increased 34%.
And all that even though she is really not on the broadcast that much — despite the bellyaching from some that the networks show her too often during games. It was even a joke — albeit one that landed with a thud — during the Golden Globes, when host Jo Koy said, “The big difference between the Golden Globes and the NFL? At the Golden Globes, we have fewer camera shots of Taylor Swift.”
The New York Times’ Benjamin Hoffman wrote, “And that dissonance between how many times Ms. Swift is shown versus how many times people seem to think she was shown, has continued despite the reality that she is typically on screen for less than 25 seconds over the course of broadcasts that run longer than three hours, and her name is rarely mentioned.”
That bears repeating: Swift is on screen for less than 25 seconds over the course of three hours. Frankly, I don’t think she is on enough. (Then again, this video is the best postgame scene I can remember in a long time.)
One other thing is apparent: She’s not a distraction to Kelce and the Chiefs. Kelce had a monster game Sunday: 11 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, and the Chiefs are in the Super Bowl.
MSNBC’s Jen Psaki, from her show “Inside with Jen Psaki,” on Sunday. (Courtesy: MSNBC)
The way MSNBC’s Jen Psaki sees it, the presidential race started in earnest last week.
Psaki said on her Sunday show, “Inside with Jen Psaki,” “… no matter how long Nikki Haley stays in this race, this week will mark the start of the general election. Because this week, the frame of how Joe Biden and Donald Trump will make their case to the American people started to really take shape.”
As she continued, she had what actually could be a warning for the media: “It is spectacle versus substance. Chaos, as Nikki Haley would put it and has put it a number of times, versus normalcy. The thing is, one of those things may be more exciting, more headline-grabbing. But the other is actually more focused on what the majority of the American public care about.”
The chaos is Trump, who has just been ordered to pay $83 million in damages to writer E. Jean Carroll after he was found liable for sexually assaulting and then defaming her. That’s just the latest of his many legal troubles.
Psaki, who worked for Biden as White House press secretary, then said, “On the other side, there is normalcy, steadiness, and perhaps most importantly, a focus on the country and not on yourself. The big question now is which side will be more appealing to the people in just about half a dozen swing states come November?”
Psaki noted that the Republicans don’t have to choose chaos, saying they could pick Haley. Psaki said, “The thing is, there’s also an off-ramp for Republicans. They have two choices right now in the primary. They could nominate a conservative former governor and former U.N. ambassador who happens to be a woman, or the guy who is liable for sexual assaults, liable for defamation, liable for fraud and is still facing four criminal indictments and 91 felony counts.”
Haley, however, seems like a long shot. You almost wonder if she is sticking around just in case Trump implodes under his legal woes.
Psaki said, “It seems unlikely, at this point — they’ve given no indication at least — that they will take that off-ramp. But if they don’t, the challenge is that this strategy, based on chaos in the courtroom and echoing off Adolf Hitler every chance it gets, may not be as appealing to the broader electorate of voters Trump would need to lend himself back in the Oval Office.”
Speaking of Haley, she used her time on Sunday morning to go after Trump.
Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about Trump’s “birther” attacks against her, Haley told moderator Kristen Welker, “I laugh every time I see one of his tweets, every time I see him throw a temper tantrum. Because I know Donald Trump very well. When he feels insecure, he starts to rail, he starts to rant, he starts to flail his arms, and he starts to get upset. When he feels threatened, he starts to throw all kinds of things out there. I would always tell him he was his own worst enemy. He’s proving that right now.”
Yet, Haley stopped short of saying Trump’s loss to Carroll in last week’s defamation case verdict should disqualify him from the ballot. Haley said, “I think the American people decide who should be disqualifying. … I absolutely trust the jury, and I think that they made their decision based on the evidence. I just don’t think that should take him off the ballot. I think the American people will take him off the ballot. I think that’s the best way to go forward — is not let him play the victim, let him play the loser.”
For this item, I turn it over to Poynter media business analyst Rick Edmonds.
A Baltimore Banner investigative story late last week added fresh details about new Baltimore Sun owner David D. Smith’s crusade over what he calls corruption in the city school system. The nominal plaintiff in a suit alleging that enrollment figures had been fraudulently inflated for years told the Banner that funding for the effort came from Smith.
Since Smith’s purchase of the Sun was announced two weeks ago, speculation has been that the paper will take up his cause. Smith has not confirmed that but implied as much in a first meeting with the Sun’s news staff, saying he rarely read the Sun and was unimpressed with print journalists.
WBFF Fox45, a local broadcast affiliate of Sinclair Broadcast Group, where Smith is executive chairman, has run numerous pieces on the enrollment issue.
The Banner reported that the potential conflict of interest has not been disclosed in the TV news reports. That is out of step with best practice, Kelly McBride, chair of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership to Poynter, told the Banner. “I think it is a general principle in journalism that the public values transparency,” McBride said, but she conceded that owners who feel otherwise can choose to mandate advocacy of their views.
The rival Banner’s revelation may push forward a reckoning as soon as this week about whether Sun journalists and executives will want to keep working for an owner with that concept of the role of a metropolitan newspaper.
Former NFL coach Bill Belichick, at the news conference earlier this month to announce he was parting ways with the New England Patriots. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
Legendary NFL coach Bill Belichick recently parted ways with the New England Patriots after winning six Super Bowls. His all-time regular-season win total sits at 302 — 26 behind Don Shula on the all-time list.
There have been seven coaching openings (not counting the Patriots) this offseason and it was assumed Belichick, who turns 72 in April, would get one of them. He interviewed twice with Atlanta but didn’t get that job. Only two openings remain, and he isn’t expected to get either of them.
So where does that leave him? Where all great coaches end up at some point: television. And while Belichick is known for his boring, painful-to-watch press conferences, those who know him think he would be superb on TV. If you did not know, Belichick won a Sports Emmy in 2021 for his analyst work on NFL Network’s “NFL 100 All-Time Team.”
The Big Lead’s Liam McKeone wrote three TV destinations that make the most sense for Belichick: ESPN, Fox Sports and NFL Network.
The only risk a network takes is that Belichick will leave at some point to take one more coaching job to try and break the all-time record. Then again, networks deal with that all the time, and Belichick will be a valuable piece to any network, even if it’s for an abbreviated amount of time.
One media agent told CBS Sports Jonathan Jones, “Every network would want him. He would revolutionize media with the way he prepares.”
Former longtime Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times award-winning sports columnist Martin Fennelly died Friday from a heart attack, according to his former Tribune colleague Brett McMurphy. Fennelly was 65.
Fennelly and I worked together for several years at the Times. And even though we worked at competing newspapers for many other years, we spent countless good times next to one another covering various sporting events. That included long drives together on our way to college football games across the state of Florida, many late nights getting post-game beers and burgers and in press boxes and newsrooms where, I admit, we did more laughing than writing. He was more than a colleague. He was a good friend, and I will miss him terribly.
Fennelly was a brilliant writer, wickedly funny and equally deft writing about the best athletes in the world and people you had never heard of. He was as kind as he was talented.
Journalists who knew Fennelly shared their thoughts on social media on Sunday after the news broke.
On3’s Andy Staples, who worked with Fennelly at the Tribune, tweeted, “RIP to an absolute genius.”
Sports Illustrated senior writer Pat Forde tweeted, “Gutted by this news. Worked with Martin while I was in school at Mizzou and he was at the Columbia Daily Tribune, writing ridiculously good stories for a p.m. paper. Knew him ever since. He’s the most underrated sports writer of my lifetime. So gifted, so funny, and so kind. RIP.”
As former Tribune sports columnist David Whitley put it, if Fennelly had a dollar for every time he put a smile on someone’s face, he would have had more money than Elon Musk — and then he would have given all that money away to someone who needed it.
Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at [email protected].
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