Hallmark Teams Up With NFL and Chiefs for ‘Holiday Touchdown’ Christmas Movie, Tyler Hynes to Star

Travis Kelce may be appearing on stage at Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, but that’s not the only way the Kansas City Chiefs are leaning into romance. The NFL and the Missouri team will partner with Hallmark for “Holiday Touchdown: A Chiefs Love Story,” a new movie set to air during the 15th annual Countdown to Christmas event this year.

Tyler Hynes and Hunter King will lead the original movie, with production kicking off next month. It will film entirely in Kansas City, Missouri, becoming the first Hallmark production to film at the GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

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Ed Begley Jr., Diedrich Bader, Megyn Price, Richard Riehle and Christine Ebersole are also part of the cast. Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, as well as players Trey Smith, Mecole Hardman Jr., Clyde Edwards-Helaire, George Karlaftis will also appear. Donna Kelce, the mother of Jason and Travis Kelcw, will star as the manager of the Kansas City BBQ Restaurant Norma & Nic’s.

“With Hallmark and the Kansas City Chiefs both homegrown, rooted in values, tradition and community, there is a special alchemy between these two iconic organizations,” said Hallmark chief brand officer Darren Abbott. “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.”

This marks the second time the channel has teamed up with the NFL team; they celebrated the playoff season with a campaign titled “‘Tis the Preseason.” Part of the campaign was a trailer for a spoof movie titled “Falling for Football,” starring Hynes and Janel Parrish — her character hates football after being left at the altar for a playoff game, while he works at the Chiefs’ merchandise store. Donna Kelce and Chiefs players Trey Smith and Tommy Townsend appeared, and many Taylor Swift nods were made.

“We are honored to partner with Hallmark on a project as unique as this,” Chiefs president Mark Donovan said on June 24. “As a club, we pride ourselves on exploring new ways to grow our brand, as well as connect with new audiences. 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.”

Here is the film’s official logline: “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, destiny and even questions her future with Derrick – unless, that is, a little Christmas magic can throw a Hail Mary.” (Will it make Variety‘s top Hallmark movies ever list? To be determined.)

In addition to the movie, the collaboration will feature game-day activations, co-branded merchandise and digital promotion. Skydance Sports will executive produce, as part of a newly formed venture between Skydance Media and the NFL.

Beginning on Tuesday night at sunset, Kansas City’s downtown skyline will be lit purple and red to honor the collaboration between Hallmark and the Chiefs.

According to Hallmark, more than 50% of channel’s viewers also watched sports while the Countdown to Christmas was on air in 2023. The fanbase has a great deal of crossover, something that Hynes was particularly interested in.

“I feel like there is a bit of a mirror image with that specific fandom and Hallmark Channel,” he told Variety of the partnership in January. “I think there’s a bit of a crossover and there’s a mix of that audience that’s into being very passionate and sincere in their wholesome pursuit of entertainment and being inspired by whether it’s athletes or a nice story. It feels like it’s all part of the same universe.”

It also gave him two new interests. “Football and Taylor Swift are new things to me. I grew up without the money to afford organized sports and was a skateboarder, but going to Kansas, the folks who were taking care of us there — the whole PR team, everyone — I was genuinely moved and touched by this whole experience and how sweet these people were,” he said. “They gave us jerseys with our names on them. And it was really, really beautiful. I went home and started watching the Netflix documentary series, fast forwarding to all of Patrick Mahomes’ parts.”

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