OPINION: A single weekend of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour exceeds NFL draft in economic impact


Katie Masko

Taylor Swift performing in front of 73,117 fans at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh on June 17, 2023.

Katie Masko, Social Media Director

It’s no secret that Taylor Swift is currently one of the most famous people on the planet. The Eras Tour is not only a blockbuster in ticket sales but has “Gorgeous” effects on the host city’s local economy, so much that it could exceed the NFL draft.

Forbes estimates Swift’s tour to bring almost $4.6 billion to the United States economy alone. Each stadium is packed full of Swifties, even breaking records along the way.

When she played at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, her June 17 concert broke the record for the largest event in stadium history with 73,117 fans in attendance (including me!). It was the largest event in Pittsburgh’s history at the biggest venue in the city.

CBS reported that Chicago saw the highest hotel occupancy rate ever the weekend Swift’s concerts were in town, and the Chicago Transit Authority saw 43,000 more riders than a normal Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Economic impact of one weekend of Taylor Swift concerts. (Katie Masko)

In full clarity, economic data for The Eras Tour is not easy to come by. For many cities, full economic reports on a single event are saved for larger scale events like the Democratic National Convention, said Alethia Calbeck, the chief communications officer at Visit Philadelphia, in an interview with Billy Penn

Data for NFL drafts is easier to find and identify; therefore, these inconsistencies should be taken into account when comparing. 

In 2021, Cleveland hosted the NFL draft, and according to Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, the Northeast Ohio area experienced a $42 million economic impact while tourism was still in exaggerated recovery from the pandemic. 

This close-to-home example does not compete with the impact Kansas City saw during the 2023 NFL draft. The CEO of KC Sports Commission and Visit KC, Kathy Nelson, said it was estimated that Kansas City’s economic impact hit the $100-120 million threshold in an interview with KSHB. Green Bay, WI, is hosting the NFL draft in 2025, and it’s expected to leave an approximate $94 million economic impact over the three-day weekend.

Football fans come into town for the draft, visit restaurants, stay in hotels and leave. Taylor Swift fans, on the other hand, buy tickets online, come into town for her concerts, stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, go to grocery stores to get last-minute items and buy eras-themed merchandise. Some fans don’t even have tickets and sit outside the stadium to enjoy her tunes! 

As previously mentioned, The Eras Tour is currently expected to make about $4.6 billion. For a 52-show, 20-city tour, this breaks down to roughly $88 million a night and $230 million a city (equated by simple division, not a full-scale economic report).

These numbers could vary based on location, economic status, nights played (some cities are two nights whereas some are three) and more, but the NFL draft hardly compares to what The Eras Tour brings to a city.

Some models for the opening weekend of The Eras Tour in Glendale, AZ, estimated she could bring in as much as $600 million. The city confirmed that double the amount of Super Bowl fans attended Swift’s shows.

Swift’s next tour dates are in Cincinnati this weekend, where the city expects a $92 million impact on the local economy

The momentum of The Eras Tour is expected to continue through 2024 when Swift embarks on the international tour dates, which are not factored into these data sets. 

Comparing the numbers side by side, while not exact, are staggering. The impact global superstars have on the economy might have some screaming, “All You Had To Do Was Stay.”

Katie Masko is social media director. Contact her at [email protected].