Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce, is headed to the Super Bowl. This means that for the next two weeks even Americans who can’t sing the chorus of “Shake It Off” and don’t know why “karma is a cat” are going to be subjected constant chatter about their romance, the nature of Taylor’s relationship with the NFL, and, for some reason, how long it takes a Dassault Falcon 7X private jet to fly from Tokyo to Las Vegas.
As a Latter-Day Swiftie, I know that the feverish speculation surrounding the pop star can be overwhelming. So here’s a guide to Taylor Swift Super Bowl theories that should answer all of your questions, whether you just want to know if Taylor can be with Travis at the game or are looking to jump down the Reputation (Taylor’s Version) release-date rabbit hole.
This year’s NFL championship game, concluding the 2023 season, will be played on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. ET. The action will take place at the home of the Las Vegas Raiders, Allegiant Stadium, located on the Las Vegas strip in Paradise, Nevada.
As long as we’re here, I’ll spare you another Google search. Here’s how to watch the Super Bowl this year:
TV: CBS, Nickelodeon Stream: Available via Paramount+ on all platforms, or sign in with your TV provider on CBS.com or CBS Sports apps
Swift is currently in the middle of her wildly successful Eras Tour, which includes 151 shows across five continents. She’s been on a break since late November, but the international leg of the tour is about to resume with four shows in Tokyo, Japan on February 7, 8, 9, and 10 — the day before the Super Bowl.
So, can Swift perform at the Tokyo Dome on Saturday night, February 10 and make it to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas by 3:30 p.m. Sunday local time?
The short answer is yes; the 17-hour time difference works in her favor.
Running between the South and North poles, the international date line serves as the boundary between one calendar day and the next. When traveling eastbound over the line, the date decreases by one day, while going west over the boundary moves things forward by one day. Luckily, Swift is traveling east — meaning that she’ll be able to perform her concert on Saturday night in Tokyo, get a full night of rest, and as long as the 13-hour flight leaves before 6 p.m. Japan Standard Time on Sunday, she’ll land in Las Vegas before kickoff at 3:30 p.m. PT. Also helping the matter is Swift’s private jet, which will ensure a non-stop flight on an international journey where that usually does not exist.
And the Athletic did some pretty advanced calculations, which figure in driving time and which specific private jet Swift might use:
Doors open at 4 p.m. local time for her Tokyo concert, with the show starting at 6 p.m. She typically opens her set about two hours after the scheduled start time. However, no openers have been announced for her Tokyo tour dates, meaning she could go on close to 6 p.m. Assuming that’s the case, and with her concerts lasting roughly three and a half hours, she would wrap the show around 9:30 p.m.
If she leaves from Haneda Airport, which is the closest airport to the Tokyo Dome at a roughly 25-minute drive, with additional time to account for concert traffic and flight check-in, Swift could then be wheels up to Las Vegas an hour later.
According to Business Insider, Swift has two multimillion-dollar private jets — a Dassault Falcon 7X and a Dassault Falcon 900 — that were heavily used during the U.S. leg of her Eras Tour. Falcon lists its 900LX model as having a range of 4,750 nautical miles. The 7X model has a longer range of 5,906 nautical miles. The distance between Haneda Airport and Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport, located near Allegiant Stadium, is 4,821 nautical miles (5,548 miles). So, for this exercise, it would make sense for Swift to opt for the 7X.
An account manager at Paramount Business Jets — which offers worldwide private jet charter flights, including on the 7X, but is not affiliated with Swift’s plans — estimated the trip from Haneda Airport to Harry Reid International Airport would take about 10 to 10 1/2 hours on that aircraft.
That means Swift could leave at 10:30 p.m. in Tokyo and, because of the time change, arrive around 4 p.m. in Las Vegas on Feb. 10, a full day before the game.
If that still doesn’t make sense you can head to TikTok, which is currently rife with videos breaking down Swift’s potential itinerary, as well as reposts of this clip in which the West Wing gang struggles to do the time travel math on a Tokyo-U.S. flight:
Yes, theoretically. The Athletic also noted that weather patterns could throw off Swift’s itinerary, as well as the crowded Las Vegas airports. A Paramount Business Jets account manager told the site that as of Friday there were no slots available to land in Vegas on Super Bowl weekend:
“I have four clients who wanted to fly in for the Super Bowl and we had to cancel their trips because nobody is able to get the proper times to land in Las Vegas,” the account manager said. “The way that I got it explained by operators is that (they) don’t have any more availability at any of the Las Vegas airports that can receive a jet, whether it’s private or whether it’s commercial. When I say commercial, that’s someone renting an airplane to fly,” the account manager continued. The Paramount Business Jets account manager said the plans would have to have been in place “potentially a couple of months ago” to ensure the slots to land or depart in Las Vegas that weekend.
Okay, so random rich people may not be able to fly into Vegas at the last minute. But could Taylor Swift, biggest star in the world, make it happen? That seems like a safe assumption. Over the weekend both American Airlines and United managed to add special commercial flights between Kansas City and Las Vegas, with flight numbers referencing Swift at Kelce. Plus, as the Athletic explains in impressive detail, Swift could fly into a nearby airport and drive to Vegas:
Even if Swift is unable to land in Las Vegas, however, she could fly into Los Angeles — to either LAX or Van Nuys Airport — and drive the rest of the way. In that scenario, the flight would be roughly 45 minutes shorter to Los Angeles, meaning a flight of about 9 hours and 45 minutes. So Swift could theoretically make it to L.A. and through customs around 3:30 p.m. local time. A drive from LAX to Allegiant Stadium takes four to five hours, depending on stops and traffic. In that scenario, she’d still get to Vegas by 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, with lots of time for pregame activities.
No. Taylor Swift has never performed at the Super Bowl, probably because she inked a “long-term partnership” with Diet Coke in 2013, the same year Coca-Cola’s arch-nemesis Pepsi kicked off its decade-long halftime show sponsorship deal.
In 2022 Apple Music took over as the halftime show’s sponsor, sparking rumors that Swift might finally perform during the game. But TMZ reported that she turned down the offer, and made it clear that she “she didn’t want to perform until she finished rerecording all of her first 6 albums.” Instead, Rihanna headlined the first Apple-sponsored halftime show on February 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Eras Tour kicked off at the same stadium about a month later. At that point, Swift had already put out two re-recorded albums; she dropped two more “Taylor’s Version” albums during the Eras Tour. That leaves two more re-recordings that need to drop before Swift will consider doing a full Super Bowl show: Taylor Swift (2006) and Reputation (2017).
Nope, not even in Swifties’ wildest dreams. Her fans love unhinged theories but even r/TaylorSwift shot this idea down, for the following reasons:
- Swift was reportedly offered the job again this year, but turned it down because she doesn’t think it would be a “career-defining moment” at this point.
- There is no time to rehearse, since she’ll be in Tokyo in the days leading up to the game.
- Swift has yet to re-release the albums Taylor Swift and Reputation, so she would not profit from the streaming bump those albums would get after a halftime performance.
- Usher is the 2024 Super Bowl halftime headliner. This news was announced in a weird video featuring his pal/Swift foe Kim Kardashian. Usher is also friends with Scooter Braun, who became a top Swift enemy when when he bought her music catalog, sparking the re-recording project.
Swift is also acutely aware of the perils of being over-exposed. In her Miss Americana documentary she talked about how the public backlash to her omni-presence in the media around the release of 1989 and various public feuds led her to go into hiding. “I just wanted to disappear,” she says in the film. “Nobody physically saw me for a year.” (This is not literally true, but her partial retreat from the public eye is a key part of Swiftie lore, particularly the album Reputation.)
Swift is on the verge of being too famous at the moment and it seems she does not want people to think she’s courting the NFL hype. For example, Swift mouthed “go away please” to CBS cameras during the AFC Championship game:
… but she didn’t avoid the media after the game, when she gave Kelce a kiss on the field. (She’s actually appeared in NFL broadcasts far less than people think, according to the New York Times.)
Appearing at the game as a supportive girlfriend is one thing, but performing would cross the line into obvious self-promotion. Plus, there’s always the 2025 Super Bowl.
February 2024 has long been the focus of intense Swiftie speculation. In my expert opinion as a person who spends too much time on SwiftTok, I’d say it’s likely that she’ll use the Super Bowl to promote the re-recorded Reputation album in some way.
Swift regularly hints at her next moves in her music videos, Eras Tour song choices, and even nail polish colors. While being a Taylor Swift fan often feels like enlisting in TAnon, this is fact, not just wild speculation; she has made videos explaining how she embeds “Easter eggs” in her work and public appearances. Here’s one easy-to-understand example featuring an image from the “Karma” music video, which Swift released in May — well before her relationship with Kelce became public knowledge.
There are dozens of “Easter eggs” that point to news on Reputation (Taylor’s Version) coming in February; they involve everything from the color of Taylor’s recent outfits to the theory that she’s using numerology to time her album releases. This video is typical of the Pepe Silvia-esque Reputation (TV) predictions you’ll see on TikTok:
Taylor forecasters are not consistent on exactly when or where she’ll make Reputation news in February. Predictions also vary on whether she’ll announce a release date or drop a full album.
Generally, though, Swift’s boyfriend playing in the Super Bowl on February 11 seems like too good of a promotional opportunity to pass up. Announcing her next album during the game seems like a bit much (she’d surely be accused of trying to overshadow Kelce on his big day). But could she announce Reputation (Taylor’s Version) during one of her Tokyo shows, setting up NFL announcers to talk about the news during the game, maybe by making corny references to the 49ers and the Chiefs having “big reputations“?
Maybe! I don’t know! But I’m definitely going to have fun speculating about it with both Swifties and civilians over the next two weeks. Yes, the Swift-Kelce hype a bit out of control right now. But to quote President Biden (who’s also watching Swift closely), it grows the economy, benefits everybody, hurts nobody!
This post has been updated throughout.