: Thanks to Taylor Swift, NFL-themed friendship bracelets are selling like hot cakes

It turns out Taylor Swift fans may not be the only ones who are sporting friendship bracelets. Now, football fans are also apparently getting in on the action.

FOCO, an NFL licensee that bills itself as “a leading manufacturer of sports and entertainment merchandise,” is producing and selling team-themed bracelets. The New Jersey-based company says it launched the items over the summer, capitalizing on the Swiftie fervor for the bracelets, which are referenced in a song by the pop star and are often traded among her fans.

But it says that since Swift became an NFL booster because of her budding relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, sales for the bracelets, which are offered in packs of three for $20, have really started to take off.

“We went from selling hundreds of packs a day to selling thousands of packs a day,” FOCO licensing director Matthew Katz told MarketWatch.

FOCO also creates versions of the bracelets for teams in other sports leagues as part of its licensee relationships. In fact, it says it made bracelets for the Philadelphia Phillies as a promotional giveaway for fans of the baseball team.

So far, the company has sold about 200,000 bracelet packs (or 600,000 bracelets), covering all sports and teams, Katz says. But the NFL team-themed ones have been the most popular, accounting for approximately 60% of sales.

‘We went from selling hundreds of packs a day to selling thousands of packs a day.”

— FOCO licensing director Matthew Katz on the popularity of the company’s sports-themed friendship bracelets

Naturally, the Chiefs bracelets have been especially in demand, Katz says, because of the obvious Swift connection.

Swift has become a regular attendee at Chiefs games, often sitting alongside Donna Kelce, Travis’s mother. Swift was at Thursday night’s contest in Kansas City when the Chiefs defeated the Denver Broncos 19-8.

It’s been a busy week for the pop star, who attended the premiere of her “Eras Tour” concert film in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The much-anticipated picture goes into full release this weekend and is expected to have at least a $150 million opening.

Swift’s relationship with Travis Kelce began when the football player tried to send her a friendship bracelet with his phone number on it. He apparently couldn’t deliver it, but clearly a connection was forged.

Katz of FOCO says it appears the NFL bracelets are more popular with women than men, though he noted the company has designed individual styles to cater to both sexes.

Either way, he says the company is aiming to get more women interested in football — or at least to get them to buy NFL merchandise. As part of that push, he noted the company offers team-themed crop tops and women’s tank tops.

But the push goes beyond FOCO. The NFL told MarketWatch it has many licensee relationships with companies and designers that are creating all sorts of apparel, jewelry and other items aimed at women. Think team-themed neck warmers from Kiya Tomlin. Or team-themed tote bags from Vera Bradley.

An NFL spokesperson also noted that the league was happy to embrace the FOCO friendship bracelets.

“With the rise in popularity of friendship bracelets among younger audiences this past summer, we felt this was an ideal category to be a part of,” the spokesperson said.

Taylor Swift looks on before the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on Oct. 12, 2023.

Getty Images

The Swift-NFL saga has also boosted the football league’s coffers by allowing it to tap into the ginormous fan base of the world’s reigning pop star, according to experts. Apex Marketing, a company that specializes in advertising and branding services, told MarketWatch that it equated to $122 million in brand value for the league.

Donna Kelce, Travis’s mother, also recently said in a podcast interview that “the NFL is laughing all the way to the bank” because of Swift’s sudden interest in the game.

Meanwhile, FOCO is doubling down on its success with the friendship bracelets by expanding its array of offerings. Among the newest ones it is launching are Travis Kelce-themed bracelets.

Still, there’s no word yet as to whether the football player will try to gift a pack of those bracelets to Swift.


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