This year’s Super Bowl won’t be about football, and you can thank Gen Z

Gen Z isn’t the biggest football fan, but it will lead conversations around the big game nonetheless, The Romans account supervisor Troy Kowalchuk says.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

If there’s one thing Gen Z can be defined by it’s their departure from tradition. 

From how we act in the workplace to how we engage with media, this generation is redefining the status quo and the Super Bowl will be no different. 

Much of Gen Z couldn't care less about what teams are playing on Sunday, with only 23% describing themselves as passionate sports fans. Fresh eyes will be watching the biggest sporting event of the year, but they’ll be celebrating anything but football. 

Taylor Swift “putting Travis Kelce on the map,” is the biggest example. Swifties have memed her attendance and reactions at games across TikTok to jokingly troll their sports fanatic partners. 

Jokes aside, there is some truth behind it. Non-sports fans who were normally excluded from the big game now have another reason to join in on the fun. The jokes, memes and advertisements will all connect to the power couple. Even the five-second cameos of Swift will be the most sought-after moments for thousands of viewers.

2023 was dubbed the year of the boyfriend by Tell The Bees and trends like “Superbowl Boyfriend” or “Quarterback’s Girlfriend” allow for women and non-binary people to participate in a traditionally male-dominated moment. Swift's public support of Kelce has done a lot to redeem “WAGs” by demonstrating how integral they are to player relevancy and making them known beyond the sportsphere. 

If Swift doesn’t bring Gen Z in droves, the Y2K nostalgia-obsession will. 

The halftime show will usher in the past. Given Usher’s greatest hits, brand campaigns are expected to be filled with nods to simpler times. 

This year we could see more influencers finding creative ways to take advantage of new audiences watching the NFL. Whether it be Super Bowl charcuterie and cocktail boards, get-ready-with-me videos, Swelce-inspired outfit-of-the-days, quick-turn memes or live reactions to Super Bowl content. Creators will be hungrier than ever to capitalize on this moment.  

With social media obsessions comes new technology. Coinbase’s QR code advert had everyone talking two years ago. Last year and this year we expect brands to try to emulate it once again, but ultimately fall flat. 

We’ve also seen new tech such as ChatGPT and the Apple Vision Pro come out since the last Super Bowl. From AI jokes to AI-generated advertisements, brands will want to show their technical prowess to attract new consumers.

This year’s Super Bowl will be many viewer’s introduction to the NFL. We’ll see people chatting about their experiences and asking questions to understand the complexities of football. The “aestheticization” of the Super Bowl will see new opportunities for content creators and brands. 

These predictions aren’t just specific to the Super Bowl. As Gen Z finds new ways to navigate and explore legacies and appropriate traditions, we’ll defy expectations in spontaneous and innovative ways. Those clinging on to the past who refuse to accept anything else will ultimately be disappointed.

Troy Kowalchuk is an account supervisor at The Romans.

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