Taylor Swift's Eras Tour brings jolt of energy to US economy

Swift's Eras Tour is revitalising cities' economies across America, with fans putting up big money to see the singer perform live

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It's the Taylor Swift economy, and we're all just living in it.

Swift's fans – known as Swifties – have flocked to cities en masse for months to witness their beloved Anti-Hero's sprawling performances at some of the largest venues in the US.

The pop star concluded the first US leg of The Eras Tour in Los Angeles on Wednesday at SoFi Stadium. Her six-night residency is projected to deliver a $320 million boost to Los Angeles County's gross domestic product and $160 million in local earnings, a report from the California Centre for Jobs showed.

The economic marvel is not unique to Los Angeles: city economies across the US have been revitalised by Swift's tour and the massive amounts of spending her fans bring at each destination.

Call it, The US Economy (Taylor's Version).

Taylor Nation, literally

The Eras Tour is projected to have a $5 billion economic impact on the US, according to software company QuestionPro. That would produce a GDP larger than 50 countries.

At the centre of this hype is fans' years-long wait for Swift to return to playing live. The tour is Swift's first since 2018 after she cancelled her planned Lover Fest tour in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic.

Since then, Swift has released four new albums and re-recorded three others as “(Taylor's Version)”. Her expansive catalogue and extended time away from live music have led to mammoth performances, with 45-song set lists lasting, on average, 3 hours and 23 minutes.

“There's been such a hype because it's a concert that spoke to multiple generations of people … with different desires for music and different musical preferences,” said Mary Kelloff, a registered nurse from Denver, Colorado.

“She's just so versatile.”

Ms Kelloff was one of many fans who could not gain access to the Ticketmaster presale but still managed to purchase tickets for Pittsburgh at $350 and $800 floor-seat tickets in Denver.

“She's somebody who I've listened to throughout the last 17 years of my life. And so to me, it was totally worth it,” Ms Kelloff said.

With the pandemic over and incomes strong, Swifties are now flexing their financial muscles. The average concertgoer is spending $1,327.74 per show on costs including tickets, merchandise, outfits, travel and dining, QuestionPro reported.

Colorado itself experienced a windfall thanks to Swift and her loyal fans. Swifties contributed $140 million to the state's GDP and brought in $250 million in direct spending from the July 14-15 shows in Denver, according to the Common Sense Institute.

Downtowns bursting with life

Swifties have travelled in droves to each of the pop singer's stops from coast to coast, bringing a jolt of energy to cities still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is not an overstatement to say that tourism and events has been a huge benefits to communities, including Seattle, that are … still navigating some of the challenges that have been caused by the pandemic,” said Rachel Smith, president and chief executive of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Seattle's city centre welcomed 1.15 million visitors the weekend of Swift's July 22-23 shows, the largest amount since 2018. When combined with other major events in the city, it fuelled a renewed bustle in metropolitan hubs.

Herself a Swift fan, Ms Smith described a special feeling as she walked a city centre bustling with Swifties, sports fans and other visitors.

Taylor Swift fans break out in song on delayed flight

Taylor Swift fans break out in song on delayed flight

“I'm downtown every single day and you could feel the electricity having all the people downtown,” said Ms Smith.

“It really is kind of a flywheel where the more people that we have, even if they're tourists, the more people end up coming and getting out downtown, which is just fantastic.

“So, yes, we cannot understate the importance of tourism as we recover from the pandemic.”

Figures obtained by The National showed that Seattle's hotel occupancy surpassed 94 per cent the week of Swift's shows. The average daily rates for hotel stays hit $491 on that Friday and $401 on Saturday, crushing previous records.

And Seattle was not alone in welcoming scores of visitors.

Hotel occupancy surged past pre-pandemic levels in Las Vegas while Cincinnati also saw hotels at near-full occupancy. Meanwhile, Chicago reported $39 million in revenue from hotels alone on 44,000 bookings.

So, too, in Nashville, where Swift became the first artist in the city's history to perform three headline shows at Nissan Stadium on consecutive nights.

Her May 5-7 shows were part of a major drive in traffic for the Music City. It also brought a record-breaking average daily rate for hotels in Davidson County, which received $37.34 million in total revenue that weekend, figures shared with The National showed.

“Hotel occupancy was through the roof during the Taylor Swift weekend,” said Deanna Ivey, president and chief executive Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

Meanwhile, the economic impact on Philadelphia was so great that the tour was credited for the city's consumer spending.

“One contact highlighted that May was the strongest month for hotel revenue in Philadelphia since the onset of the pandemic, in large part due to an influx of guests for the Taylor Swift concerts in the city,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported in its Beige Book of economic conditions.

On the opposite end of Swift's home state, Pittsburgh reported a 95 per cent hotel occupancy for her June 16-17 concerts, Visit Pittsburgh reported.

Of those who attended the two sold-out shows at Acrisure Stadium, 83 per cent were from outside Allegheny County.

Closing in on $1 billion

It seems it is only a matter of time that Swift's concert will generate $1 billion in gross sales.

Swift is expected to reach the $1 billion threshold sometime in early March 2024 when she performs at Singapore National Stadium. That stop is part of a three-continent trek that will bring 38 performances to 22 countries.

That $1 billion mark could just be the floor for what Swift achieves. According to what trade magazine Pollstar lists as “conservative” estimates, Swift's tour could bring in $1.4 billion in sales. And even that was reported before additional dates were announced.

By the time her concert concludes in November 2024, Swift will have performed a staggering 146 shows. And with additional dates added in the US and Canada, Swift's economic impact continues to spread.

Updated: August 10, 2023, 2:37 PM