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Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s relationship has changed the game for female sports fans

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Say what you will about the “Swiftie effect”, I’m so glad this A-list couple finally highlights the power of female fan culture

If I had a pound for every man that asked me “But do you know the offside rule though?” I’d have enough money to get on the London property ladder. Despite being an Arsenal fan my whole life – like, dedicated, goes-to-regular-fixtures fan – it can be intimidating to watch games in the pub, constantly batting off requests to move when I’ve booked a seat specifically in front of the TV screen. I’ve been quizzed by complete strangers about team statistics and asked vintage Gunner trivia just because I’m wearing a red and white scarf. Is this a test that only female fans have to take? Because I’ve missed that memo.

Having grown up without other women to watch football with (I didn’t meet a fellow female fan until my early twenties), I often felt isolated by my love of the game. And that isolation quickly turned into objectification in more recent years, with strangers assuming my desperation for a post-match analysis (‘Hello? Did you see that foul?’) is actually flirting. Really I just want to vent to someone about a substitute choice, or a referee’s bad call.

But when Taylor Swift started dating Travis Kelce, the tide started to change. The American dream had happened: a pop superstar was dating an elite football player. It sounded made up. And, as Taylor appeared at more games, the audience changed, too. NBC reported their viewership had increased by more than two million women for some games since the start of the season, while social media was suddenly awash with sports chat.

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