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Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce inspired a Kansas City Chiefs-themed Hallmark Christmas movie

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) kisses Taylor Swift after the NFL Super Bowl 58 football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in Las Vegas. The Chiefs won 25-22.
John Locher
Associated Press
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) kisses Taylor Swift after the NFL Super Bowl 58 football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in Las Vegas. The Chiefs won 25-22.

Kansas City’s homegrown relationship between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and superstar Taylor Swift could have been modeled after a rom-com for the ages. Now, a Hallmark Christmas movie set to premiere later this year appears to have taken some notes from their relationship.

The Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs already played a central role in the world’s most publicized relationship saga of the past year. Now, the team is getting its very own Hallmark Channel Christmas movie.

On Tuesday, the NFL team announced that they are partnering with Hallmark — which is also based in Kansas City — to produce “Holiday Touchdown: A Chiefs Love Story,” starring Tyler Hynes, Hunter King and Ed Begley, Jr.

The film is set to begin production in July, and Kansas City will be on full display: It will be shot exclusively on the Missouri side of the metro, including at Arrowhead Stadium.

“This partnership unites two passionate fanbases and gives us an opportunity to show Chiefs Kingdom's energy and tradition on one of the most-watched channels during the holiday season,” said Chiefs president Mark Donovan in a press release.

Anyone who’s been following the saga of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce might be connecting some dots right about now. But unfortunately, the plot is not about a record-breaking, award-winning pop star who fell in love with an amicable podcast-hosting tight-end after he attended her concert, hoping to give her a homemade friendship bracelet.

Here’s what we know about the story so far:

“Alana Higman (King) is sure that her family's lifelong history as Kansas City Chiefs superfans makes them a frontrunner to win the team's ‘Fan of the Year’ contest. Derrick (Hynes), Director of Fan Engagement, is tasked with evaluating how Alana and her family stack up against the other two finalists.

As the pair spends time together, it's clear there's a spark between them but when her grandfather's (Begley Jr.) vintage Chiefs, good luck winter hat goes missing, Alana begins to doubt everything she believed about fate and destiny and even questions her future with Derrick — unless, that is, a little Christmas magic can throw a Hail Mary.”

Now that we think about it, though, a Kansas City Chiefs employee who finds himself in an unexpectedly high-profile romance, with football merchandise playing a central role? That’s starting to sound familiar.

Close-up of a fake, leafy wall with an image of a young woman (Taylor Swift) holding her hands above her head in the shape of a heart. The word "Lover" is spelled next to her and surrounded by flowers.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Ahead of the Super Bowl in February 2024, a display at Union Station's Grand Ballroom featured Taylor Swift.

Chiefs gear has been a central theme in Kelce and Swift’s relationship. At nearly every NFL game she’s attended, Swift has worn vintage or custom Chiefs clothing or accessories, giving a surge of attention to the local businesses that sold the apparel.

Perhaps the Chiefs hat that Alana holds so dear in the movie will be modeled after the hand-crocheted hat Swift wore to a December game. That piece, made by Kathryn Cacho, sold out almost immediately and brought in a wave of business to the boutique Westside Storey and Cacho’s own custom crochet shop.

Swift and Kelce made their love story official in September when Swift made a surprise appearance at a Chiefs game. Quickly, their whirlwind romance included visits to local Kansas City restaurants and date nights at Saturday Night Live. Most recently, Kelce joined Swift on stage at the Eras Tour in London.

All of the buzz around the relationship brought renewed worldwide attention to Kansas City, and even more attention to the Chiefs, who won their second Super Bowl in a row in February. Local stores sold out of custom Swelce-themed merchandise. Ticket sales for all Chiefs home games tripled for the rest of the 2023-2024 season.

People standing in an enclosed booth cheer. One of them is dressed as Santa Clause. On either side of him are two women wearing red and cheering. The woman at right is Taylor Swift.
Charlie Riedel
Associated Press
Taylor Swift watches during the first half of an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Las Vegas Raiders Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo.

The superstar lovers even inspired an earlier spoof of a football romcom — perhaps a preview of what’s to come — with a trailer for the fake movie “Falling for Football.” That trailer also starred Hynes, who is billed to lead Hallmark’s real movie.

"By blending the warmth of Hallmark storytelling with the excitement of professional football, we are thrilled to give audiences a front-row seat to this community's spirit, rich traditions and passionate fans that define Kansas City, all wrapped up in the comforting and uplifting Hallmark way," said Hallmark’s chief brand officer Darren Abbott.

The film is likely also benefiting from Missouri’s new film tax credits, which took effect this year, as well as film tax credits from Kansas City’s own film office.

Missouri’s “Show MO” program offers a 20% tax credit for qualifying expenses, and additional credits for movies that meet other conditions -- including if more than half of it is filmed in Missouri. This is the first film tax credit program in Missouri since 2013, when the last version lapsed. Kansas City also offers up to a 10% rebate on eligible productions.

We also have to wonder: Will either Swift or Kelce make a cameo — as themselves or in character — in “Holiday Touchdown”? After all, both have acting credits on their resumes.

Swift appeared in the movies “Cats,” “Amsterdam” and “Valentine’s Day,” and she's made guest appearances on the TV shows “New Girl” and “CSI.”

Kelce made strong impressions hosting SNL last year. Soon, he'll have his first major acting gig (not counting his short-lived reality dating show “Catching Kelce”) in the Ryan Murphy FX series “Groesquerie.” Kelce is also on tap to host a revival of the quiz show “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” on Prime Video.

“Holiday Touchdown: A Chiefs Love Story” does not have an air date yet, but it’s slated to run during Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas series — which begins in October. Maybe you’ll even be able to make it a double-feature with a Chiefs game.

As KCUR’s Audience Editor, I ask the questions: What do people need from us, and how can we best deliver it? I work across departments and projects to ensure our entire community is represented in and best served by our journalism. I help lead KCUR’s digital efforts to make our station more responsive, more competitive and more engaging. Contact me at gabe@kcur.org
When news breaks, it can be easy to rely on officials and people in power to get information fast. As KCUR’s general assignment and breaking news reporter, I want to bring you the human faces of the day’s biggest stories. Whether it’s a local shop owner or a worker on the picket line, I want to give you the stories of the real people who are driving change in the Kansas City area. Email me at savannahhawley@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @savannahhawley.
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