Travis Kelce’s New Business Partnership Helps Underscore His Star Status

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Before 2023, Travis Kelce garnered plenty of headlines for his on-field talent. During the most recent NFL campaign, though, his profile rose to an entirely new level.

Thanks to the Chiefs’ collective success, there were plenty of commercial opportunities. Once Taylor Swift entered the picture, everything the tight end touched turned to gold. The New Heights podcast took off and became appointment listening, and a Christmas single featuring Travis and his brother, Jason, soared up the charts. Another Super Bowl title, of course, crowned a fairy-tale campaign for No. 87.

But that’s probably not even the ceiling. Based on what we’ve heard, Kelce’s star will only continue to rise. He and his agents have a plan for a wider pop-cultural presence. Things like movies and game shows could be in the cards.

But the next addition to his portfolio will come in a different arena: food. And, just like on the football field, Patrick Mahomes will be part of the dynamic duo with his fellow Chief.

Travis Kelce Patrick Mahomes Restaurant Partnership
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs high-five during their game against the New England Patriots on December 17, 2023. The teammates are partnering with a new Kansas City restaurant.

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

“Noble 33, a global hospitality group, is thrilled to announce a collaboration with Super Bowl champions Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, for the launch of 1587 Prime,” a press statement said. “The modern steakhouse, whose moniker is inspired by Patrick and Travis’ jersey numbers, will bring a brand new, immersive and upscale dining experience to Kansas City.”

And while you might have some food jokes at the ready—Mahomes is known for his love of ketchup, and Kelce’s prepackaged barbecue wasn’t exactly well received—the quarterback did allude to dining at the group’s restaurants before.

“Travis and I have become frequent visitors of Noble 33 restaurants in other cities so it only made sense to bring something special to our own community in Kansas City,” Mahomes explained in the statement.

What about Kelce?

“We’re excited to be a part of this journey with Noble 33 to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience, and what better place to start than our very own, Kansas City,” he said.

While it’s easy to feel somewhat cynical about a celebrity endorsement—Does Michael Jordan, for example, actually enjoy his own steakhouse?—the move does make pretty clear sense for all parties involved. It may seem unbelievable to Chiefs fans who sat through decades of struggle, but the club is sitting atop the NFL mountain. Mahomes and Kelce are a key part of that success, and they’ve become household names along the way.

Mahomes, for his part, hasn’t been shy about tying himself to Kansas City. He’s a part owner of the Royals, and he and his wife, Brittany, are co-owners of the National Women’s Soccer League’s KC Current.

Kelce hasn’t made those sorts of investments, but he has spoken about his adopted home.

“It’s the best. I love KC. It’s home for me now,” the tight end explained at a 2022 golf tournament during which he represented Kansas City. “Over the past 10 years, I’ve grown a lot of love for it because of how much the community really feeds off each other and how much they support each other. That’s the best, man.”

The restaurant, however, plants a flag in KC.

And now is the time for Kelce to strike while the iron is hot. His profile has never been higher, and getting involved in a restaurant is a clear way to bolster that brand. If we’re talking about someone who wants to transcend sports and become an overall celebrity, it’s important to branch out. You can check out the latest episode of New Heights or listen to a charity Christmas single, after all, without being intimately familiar with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The same can be said for a restaurant. It’s easy to imagine people (whether they’re specifically Swifties or not) coming to Kansas City, knowing Kelce’s and Mahomes’ names and wanting to visit the restaurant.

To be clear, a single restaurant partnership isn’t going to make or break Kelce’s profile. If his TV commercials are any indication, plenty of brands are waiting to work with the tight end. But this sort of partnership does speak volumes about his current status. There are plenty of good players, after all, who don’t move into pop culture. We’re not even talking about benchwarmers; starting quarterbacks around the league don’t have this level of commercial presence.

At this point, it’s reasonable to wonder what No. 87’s future holds. While he finished the 2023 campaign strong, he didn’t look like himself at various points during the year. The tight end is also getting older (he’s 34) and spoke about the bumps and bruises that come along with a life in professional football.

His contract also expires at the end of the 2025 campaign. Will he want to, or even be able to, keep playing football when that moment arrives? Or will he have laid the groundwork to transition into a Dwayne Johnson–style future, complete with TV appearances, movie roles and overall star status?

Only time will tell, but if Kelce’s angling for the latter option, partnering in a restaurant certainly makes sense.