Taylor Swift Mania Hits Tokyo, All Eyes on Super Bowl Return

Queues stretching through snowy weather just to purchase fan merchandise, and a legion of fans, including international visitors, fill every seat of Tokyo Dome’s 55,000 capacity. Globally, fans eagerly adjust to different time zones, tracking flights online in anticipation.

This marks the wave of excitement surrounding Taylor Swift as she gears up for four consecutive sold-out performances in Tokyo, only to rush back to Las Vegas afterward to support her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, as he competes in the Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs.

“What we’ve seen with the Taylor Swift tour is something that we’ve not really seen before”, stated Richard Clarke, an analyst at investment firm Bernstein. “It’s been a very well-timed post-Covid event, a sort of cultural event; everyone seems to want to go to this”.

The Tokyo leg of Swift’s Eras Tour, possibly the most lucrative tour to date, begins on Wednesday and concludes on a Saturday. Yet, the frenzy starts well before, with merchandise sales sparking long lines in adverse weather since Monday.

One fan from the Philippines shared her experience of braving near-freezing temperatures for over two hours just to get her hands on Taylor-themed merchandise. Meanwhile, fans engage in various preparations, from crafting friendship bracelets to practicing chants and selecting themed attire for the concert.

Kane Ishiyone, a fan since 2009, has even quit her job to follow Swift’s tour more closely, planning to attend concerts across multiple countries. She’s meticulously prepared different outfits for each of the four nights in Tokyo, each reflecting a different Swift “era”.

There are concerns about whether Swift can return to Las Vegas in time for the Super Bowl, considering the extensive flight and significant time difference, leading fans globally to create spreadsheets, timelines, and PowerPoint presentations to follow her trip.

Swift has frequently attended Kansas City Chiefs games, starting with her appearance in Kelce’s family suite last September to see the match against the Chicago Bears. Subsequently, both confirmed in interviews that their relationship began before that event.

The Japanese embassy in Washington even issued a statement to assure fans of Swift’s timely arrival in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl, stating, “despite the 12-hour flight and 17-hour time difference … she should comfortably arrive in Las Vegas before the Super Bowl begins”.

As Swift concludes her final show on Saturday night Tokyo time, it’s still early Saturday morning in Las Vegas, giving her ample time before the Super Bowl starts on Sunday evening in Vegas.

Swift’s immense popularity is believed to have the potential to significantly lift Japan’s economy in a mere four days.

Mitsumasa Etou from Economic Effects NET and Tokyo City University expects Swift’s concerts to bring in up to 34.1 billion yen (approximately $229.6 million).

He has dubbed this tour the most significant musical event in Japan’s history in terms of economic impact, potentially outdoing Fuji Rock, Japan’s major music festival, which last year made around 20 billion yen (about $134.6 million).

These projections don’t even account for the influx of international visitors coming to Japan specifically for Swift’s performances.

The high profitability is partly due to the steep ticket prices, with front-row seats costing twice as much as they did for her 2018 Reputation tour at the Tokyo Dome, according to Etou.

Superfans, including Ishiyone, have purchased tickets for multiple performances. For instance, Maiko Akazawa, a lifelong Swift fan, secured VIP tickets for all four shows for a total of 46,000 yen (around $309).

Clarke notes that the economic impact in a large city like Tokyo, which can accommodate many visitors due to its ample hotel capacity, may be less pronounced than in smaller cities. While some U.S. towns reported up to a 95% increase in revenue on concert nights, Tokyo might see about a 25% rise each night.

The Tokyo concerts are particularly significant as they’re part of a limited Asia Pacific tour. Swift is also scheduled for six sold-out shows in Singapore and seven in Australia later in February.

Australia is already anticipating the economic effects over a week before her concerts begin. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Michele Bullock mentioned the “Taylor Swift inflation” effect, indicating fans need to reallocate their spending to afford concert tickets and related expenses, as reported by Reuters.

Reuters also stated that Swift’s tour is the first to surpass $1 billion in revenue, with additional billions spent by fans on travel and accommodation.