TAY’S BOOMTOWN ERA

When Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour comes to town, expect sequins, Swifties—and spending. So much spending, in fact, the Federal Reserve recently credited Tay Tay’s tour as the catalyst for turning stops along the U.S. leg of her tour into temporary boomtowns. The 20-city, 52-show domestic run of Swift’s tour is projected to generate approximately $4.6b in new consumer spending. For perspective, 52 Taylor Swift concerts generate more revenue than the GDP of 35 countries. That’s a lot of friendship bracelets.

Every $100 spent on live performances generates an estimated $300 in ancillary local spending on things like hotels, meals and transportation. However, swarms of Swifties are surging into cities like Cincinnati, Tampa and Chicago and dropping an estimated $1,300-$1,500 in ancillary spending—boosting local economies by hundreds of millions of dollars in one weekend. Reportedly, Swift’s Eras Tour launch this past March at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., generated more profit for local businesses than the Super Bowl did the month prior.

To see what Swifties are paying for local amenities, we first checked local hotel rates and availability for Swift’s scheduled 7/22 and 7/23 performances at Seattle’s Lumen Field and 7/28-29 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

The closest hotel to Lumen Field with availability was a Residence Inn, and it’s a good thing it comes with free Wi-Fi because the two-night stay will run you $2,197 as opposed to rates of around $350 for two-night stays on other weekends in July. The cheapest hotel we could find within a two-mile radius was Hotel Five for $1,088, compared to an average rate of $367. Prices are slightly lower in outlying areas like Bellevue, Wash.— but transportation costs to the venue likely make it an equally expensive option. Similarly, hotels in the vicinity of Levi’s Stadium were scarce and expensive, but at least there were options.

Surge pricing is standard practice, but when Swifties swarm into cities like Cincinnati, they’re not paying Bengals-playing-a-home-game pricing for amenities, they’re paying super-premium-double-dog-dare-you kinds of surge pricing. Hotels and Airbnb hosts are charging two and three times their standard rates. Parking lots and public transit services are sold out in advance and rideshare services are operating at perma-surge prices. Swift’s fans, however, aren’t letting a little up-charging spoil their Eras era. They’ve been waiting since 2018 to see her live, and they’re reveling in the experience—cost warts and all.

Looking for ways to spend a few more dollars celebrating King County’s official Taylor Swift Week in Seattle? You can take your pick of Tay Tay-themed club nights, laser shows, “Tayl-gate” parties, “Shake it Off” exercise classes and local cat cafés—everyone, it seems, is in on the good times. Bars, restaurants and other businesses are jumping on Swift’s “brandwagon” with Swift-themed events, parties and specialty drinks named after songs like “Bad Blood” and “Midnight Rain.” We’re not sure how one preps for “Swiftogeddon: A Night Dedicated to Worshipping at the Altar of Taylor Swift,” but we suggest a little light pre-gaming of Gatorade and stretching.

Fashion brands like Hazel & Olive are stocked up on Swift clobber like the “Eras Sequined Mini Dress” and “Time for Taylor” cocktail dress, and style trendsetter websites like Refinery29 are curating ensemble inspirations so fans can literally wear their favorite Tay Tay era on their sleeve. If 1989 is your favorite era, there are Wayfarer sunglasses, skater skirts and sequined jackets. For Midnights stans, there are “Anti-Hero” orange hotpants and “Lavender Haze” faux fur moments.

Fans show up at the venue hours early to snap up exclusive tour merch. Crafty Swifties are making, trading—and apparently tossing—“friendship bracelets” at shows. Bracelets and themed outfits have become “communication currency”—a way for fans to identify and connect with other like-minded Swifties. No time for bracelet-making? Amazon and Etsy sellers have you covered. The number of underpaid HITS writers with friendship-bracelet-making side hustles is rising exponentially as well.

We can still remember a more innocent time when ads for beer and snack chips could mention the words “Super” and “Bowl” in succession with impunity. After the NFL took umbrage with all that pesky infringement business and filed for trademark protections—advertisers were forced to euphemize about “The Big Game.” Ironically, in 2023, Eras is outearning “The Big Game,” while coattail-riding on Tay Tay’s big brand is big business—and so far, fans are loving it.

Calls and emails regarding our tickets continue to go unanswered.

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