Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes overexposure should be a chief concern ahead of the Super Bowl

Is the NFL’s dominant duo of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce getting too much air time?

The Kansas City Chiefs tandem have certainly become familiar postseason fixtures earning their way to their fourth Super Bowl in five years. They have also become fixtures in TV commercials – you’ve likely seen them together in ads for State Farm Insurance or individually in spots for T-Mobile and Subway (Mahomes), and DirecTV and Experian (Kelce).

If you think you are seeing a lot of Mahomes and Kelce in TV ads, you are not imagining things. During the NFL’s 2023 regular season, Kelce appeared in more commercials (375) during NFL games than any other celebrity, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from ad-measurement firm iSpot.

Mahomes came in second with 341. Jake from State Farm (played by actor Kevin Miles) came in third with 247 ad appearances. Mahomes, Kelce and Chiefs coach Andy Reid have each appeared in State Farm ads with Miles.

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Amid the pre-Super Bowl hype, news stories have decried how some football fans are “downright sick of” the Chiefs as they have become “The New America’s Team.” Opinion pieces have complained about “Chiefs fatigue” and that “Being a Travis has never been more annoying.”

Could the constant TV presence, a result of their success on the field and off, put them on the verge of overexposure? “No question (with) familiarity breeding contempt,” said Nancy Lough, a professor of intercollegiate and professional sports management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Case in point, she says, is the Dallas Cowboys. The team draws the biggest TV audiences in part because at least some viewers want to see them lose, Lough said. “There is that side of passion for sport, as well, the hater side that loves to hate Kelce (and the Chiefs) because they’re winning all the time,” she said.

“Personally, if I had a brand and was really trying to break through,” Lough said. “I’m not going to pay the high dollar for Mahomes or Kelce because they are already well-known. It’s gotten to the point where we know them as ‘State Farm.’ It’s just so in our face all the time.”

Exponentially increasing their exposure: Kelce’s budding relationship with Taylor Swift, which led to the mega-popular performer attending Chiefs games at Arrowhead Stadium and on the road this season. We already knew Swift has generated billions in economic benefits with her tour. Now, she has drawn Swifties into the NFL fold, at the same time making her and the Chiefs fodder for TMZ, tabloids and social media.

“There is this added layer of spectacle when we see Taylor and Travis’s romance playing out,” said Jaime Robinson, co-founder and chief creative officer for JOAN Creative in New York City. For the NFL and brands advertising during the Super Bowl, the combination of the Chiefs and Swift “is a little bit like winning a lottery and striking gold at the same time, because you have this extra added viewership,” she said.

“That puts the onus on the marketers to really pick it up and try to make their work worth talking about more than, you know, were Taylor and Travis smooching after the game,” Robinson said.


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