FOXBOROUGH, MA: Taylor Swift is definitely not Gillette Stadium’s anti-hero.
The Foxborough, MA-based venue saw record engagement numbers for its social media posts in relation to Swift’s Eras Tour concerts at its location this month.
The Sunday before Swift’s three-show set, which took place May 19-21, Gillette Stadium’s social media team did a custom New England Patriots number 13 Swift jersey giveaway across its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok pages. The number 13 symbolizes the number of times Swift has performed at the venue — and is the artist’s lucky number.
13 years ago Taylor Swift played her first Gillette Stadium show.— Gil13tte Stadium (Taylor’s Version) (@GilletteStadium) May 14, 2023
1 week until she plays her 13th.
RT and follow to enter to win a custom #13 Swift jersey! pic.twitter.com/kQwHJmHmov
The jersey giveaway got 147,300-plus engagements on social media.
"That outperformed any giveaway we have ever done," said Kassie Epstein, manager of business development and external affairs, who oversees social strategy for Gillette Stadium. "So we realized what kind of week it was going to be [and that] these were going to be massively engaged with posts."
Two days later, the stadium held another jersey giveaway, which got 124,500-plus engagements.
You asked, we listened!
RT and follow us to enter to win a 2nd custom #13 Swift jersey! pic.twitter.com/Blwyv30bkH
Social for Gillette Stadium is only handled by Epstein and Lindsey Cunniff, business development and external affairs specialist. They started planning out Gillette Stadium's social media strategy for Swift's shows months in advance.
Epstein, who has worked at Gillette Stadium for 16 years, approves what goes out.
"I have the luxury of having a deep understanding of what we can post and what we can't," she said. "There are not too many layers of approval."
Epstein noted that because most of Swift's fans, commonly known as "Swifties," likely aren't part of the Patriots' fanbase, it was imperative for her team to communicate Gillette Stadium's policies and details such as where to park and enter the venue.
"We prepared an educational campaign because we want fans to feel prepared," said Epstein. "We also conduct community listening to hear what fans are interested in or confused about and we get ahead of that as best we can with as much information as we can provide."
One day ‘til #FoxboroughTSTheErasTour!— Gillette Stadium (@GilletteStadium) May 18, 2023
Visit our website for full event info and details on:
✅ bag policy
✅ event timing
Info: https://t.co/OFgxPT6qCY pic.twitter.com/pDF8CKb2RN
But the social team also had fun, engaging with fans in real-time and capturing organic moments from the event.
"We want fans to feel seen and heard by us," said Epstein.
Because the three shows were sold out and there continues to be astronomical demand for Swift tickets, Epstein's team wanted to help fans who could not be at the event feel like they were a part of it by providing real-time updates on what Swift was saying or a surprise song she was performing.
“My very first NFL stadium show was 13 years ago and it was right here in Gillette Stadium.— Gillette Stadium (@GilletteStadium) May 22, 2023
And here we are 13 years later, tonight I get to play my 13th show at Gillette Stadium for this beautiful crowd.
We just love you, there's something so special about the crowds that…
On May 15, the stadium also gave its social channels what Epstein called a "Taylor theme," changing its Twitter and Instagram handles to "Gil13tte Stadium (Taylor's Version)."
absolutely making this our entire personality for the near future pic.twitter.com/ScfZ34oeIS— Gillette Stadium (@GilletteStadium) May 20, 2023
The channels were changed and updated based on the moments Swift had at the venue. For example, on Twitter, Gillette Stadium updated its bio to quote a statement Swift made during her show, calling the venue "the most joyful place on earth."
@gillettestadium she said it, not us #gillettestadium #swifttok #taylorswift #foxboroughtstheerastour #tstheerastour ♬ original sound - gillettestadium
And of course the social media team didn't miss a change to post about the headline-making massive downpour during one of Swift's shows.
Although Swift did not personally engage with any of Gillette Stadium's social posts, the superstar's official Taylor Nation Twitter page did retweet certain posts.
us realizing 5/21/23 is Taylor’s 13th show at Gillette Stadium 13 years after her first show and 5+2+1+2+3=13 pic.twitter.com/7LuYmixREy— Gillette Stadium (@GilletteStadium) May 16, 2023
Epstein and Cunniff both work under Kraft Sports + Entertainment, a division of The Kraft Group which oversees marketing, sales, content development and event operations for the New England Patriots, the New England Revolution and Gillette Stadium.
"I wish we could do these concerts every weekend," said Epstein. "The fans want to pay attention [to the social media posts]."