Kansas City Stars, With Help From Taylor Swift, Are Advertising Champs

The Kansas City Chiefs enter Sunday’s Super Bowl having already won — when it comes to commercials.

Over the past year, the star players Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, along with Coach Andy Reid, have been inescapable to TV viewers. Flipping channels, you might find Mr. Kelce baring his arm for a Pfizer Covid-19 shot, Mr. Mahomes hollering in support of a State Farm promotion or Mr. Reid coveting some chicken “nuggies.”

During this National Football League season, companies featured Mr. Mahomes in 19 ad spots, Mr. Kelce in 10 and Mr. Reid in four. The estimated amount spent to air the ads on television was $178 million for Mr. Mahomes, $120 million for Mr. Kelce and $69 million for Mr. Reid, according to, an ad measurement company. Those are the highest numbers for any sports figures. Because there were several commercials in which at least two of the three appeared, the dollar totals have some overlap.

“Brands invested to make the Chiefs-themed ads hard to miss,” said Cassandra Arora, the chief marketing officer of iSpot, which estimates the spend of an ad based on the market rate for how much companies have to pay to air commercials on TV. Basically, the more spend an ad has, the more viewers are seeing it.

By comparison, Deion Sanders, the former N.F.L. star who coaches the University of Colorado’s football team, and Nick Saban, the recently retired University of Alabama football coach, each appeared in ads worth around $20 million during the same period. Christian McCaffrey, the San Francisco running back, appeared in ads with a spend of $46 million, while the 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy appeared in one ad — for Toyota — worth just $67,000.

A few factors explain the marketing blitz for the three Chiefs: consistent success, the marketing budgets of insurance companies and, of course, Taylor Swift.

Companies capitalized on Mr. Mahomes’s prodigious talent starting after his second season in 2018, in which he threw for 50 touchdowns. He flaunted his hair in an ad for Head and Shoulders; stood alongside Aaron Rodgers, then a quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, in a State Farm commercial; and promoted Amazon Web Services’ sleek football analytics. In 2022, after he had won a Super Bowl and a Most Valuable Player Award, the ad spend on the 21 commercials featuring Mr. Mahomes was $164 million, more than those featuring the basketball stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry combined.

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