It was Week 5 of the NFL season, Kansas City Chiefs at home in a single-point win over the Las Vegas Raiders: 26-year-old Lacey Jane Brown — a onetime Kansas “farm girl,” quickly emerging as a TikTok influencer — stood in deafening Arrowhead Stadium, her nails lacquered black, her crop top white, hair silver blond, as popcorn rained from the sky.
“I thought to myself, besides Brittany Mahomes, who could this be?” she posted to her 560,000-plus followers, a joke about the quarterback’s wife once spraying fans with champagne. “That’s when I found the suspect.”
Quick camera tilt to KC Wolf and a big smile from Brown. For this Kansas State University business graduate, raised on a wheat farm outside tiny Oakley, Kansas (population 2,000), it was a moment in a journey she never could have predicted.
One day before, on Sunday, Oct. 9, Brown had flown to Washington, D.C., to send posts to her TikTok and Instagram followers (112,000 of them) from two games in a single day: Washington Commanders versus the Tennessee Titans before a quick drive to Baltimore for a Ravens home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
After the Chiefs game on “Monday Night Football,” she would fly to Chicago for the Bears, Seattle for the Seahawks and on and on. All of it was part of a madcap challenge to attend 32 home games in 73 days to break a Guinness World Record of 74.
She did it, although not officially for Guinness, traveling 27,000 miles — more than the circumference of the Earth — between Sept. 29, starting with the Bengals’ win over the Dolphins, and ending Dec. 11 in Nashville, Tennessee, with the Titans’ loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Along the way, in the crowded, hyper-competitive universe of social media where millions of TikTok and Instagram users ache to build their brands through niche fame, Brown has done just that, fulfilling her own expectations that she would achieve something special.
“I always had big goals and big dreams for myself,” Brown — @laceyjanebrown on social media — said by telephone from her home, now in Houston. “I can’t say that this exact thing is what I would be doing, but I always knew that I would be doing something pretty big in the world. I just didn’t know exactly what it would be.”
How exactly did Brown go from Oakley and Kansas State to finding a slice of social media success? Unlike driving across Kansas, it was an up and down adventure.
Brown — maiden name Lacey Jane Ostmeyer — was raised in what she called “small town U.S.A.”
“I had, at one point, three kids in my class,” she said.
The youngest of four. Their mother was a teacher. Her dad farmed wheat and corn. All were sports fans. A brother played football; a sister was a volleyball and strength coach. Brown played basketball until she suffered a compound fracture in her leg. She graduated in 2015 as part of the National Honors Society from Wheatland High School in nearby Grainfield.
At K-State, she studied business.
“I always wanted to do something in sports, but I didn’t really know what that was,” she said. “Throughout college, I was paying for everything by myself, my rent, my college, everything. So I was working like 20 to 30 hours a week to like be able to support myself. And so when I graduated, my main focus was kind of like being able to pay off my student loan debt.”
She got a job in Omaha as a financial analyst for a start-up company. She got laid off, went to Nike in Beaverton, Oregon, as an inventory analyst in their NBA division, until that also ended as part of a large corporate layoff during the pandemic.
“Obviously, I was struggling finding a job,” Brown said, taking on multiple part-time gigs, as a nanny, as a pet sitter, as a soccer coach.
Meanwhile, she began putting up TikTok vidoes. Social media was hardly new to her. When she was younger, she wrote personal and often emotional blog posts online — some about her Christian faith, others about family, including one about her grandmother, Jane, who died of Alzheimer’s disease.
“I’m literally named after her,” she said.
The TikToks were meant to be light, her takes on sports and sports figures. Like about the Halloween decorations on the lawn of Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett — they were the skeletons of quarterbacks he had sacked. The posts were cute and fun, a reflection of the author.
And they got noticed. By athletes who messaged her and, in short time, by Aaron Koschitzski, a marketing manager for sports and music at Outshine Talent, a company founded in 2019 and with a heavy focus on TikTok creators.
“I manage influencers,” Koschitzski said. “I mean, we picked up on her really early last March. At the time she was really posting unique stories around sports. We saw something unique and special.”
Besides a manager, Brown has an agent, which brought sponsors and other deals. Her 32-games-in-73 days odyssey was sponsored by 33rdteam, an online blog/magazine/betting odds site started by a former NFL executive that describes itself on LinkedIn as “a premier football Think Tank.” She also has deals with Amazon, promoting its Thursday Night Football fan garb and other Amazon products.
It was the 32-game trip, she said, that caused her TikTok and Instagram numbers to skyrocket. It was her idea, born from the love of a nephew, soon to turn 11, who has struggled with cancer throughout his life.
“He can’t go to any games,” Brown said. “And he’s the biggest sports fan ever — like the biggest. Kind of my whole journey was for him. I told him, ‘Hey, I’m going to do this tour. And you’re going to be on this journey with me.’”
At every stadium, Brown created mini-videos, stepping out on fields, gags with mascots: a pie in the face with one, standing on the Jumbotron with another, cheering with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders in their white boots, the mad dash from airports to cars to stadiums. By the way, she said, she showed up early and stayed for the entirety of every game.
Now that her tour is over, Brown has new plans, both short-term and long.
She has already plans to be at the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 29, where she expects to be posting about her favorite team, the Chiefs, after, fingers crossed, they defeat Jacksonville in the divisional round Saturday.
After that, perhaps another whirlwind stadium tour.
“I think the next I would do is baseball, “ she said.
How Lacey Jane Brown did it
How did Lacey Jane Brown get to 32 home games in 73 days? Here’s her schedule, home team first:
Game 1: Thursday, Sept. 29, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami Dolphins
Game 2: Sunday, Oct. 2, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 3, San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams
Game 4: Thursday, Oct. 6, Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts
Game 5: Sunday, Oct. 9, Washington Commanders vs. Tennessee Titans
Game 6: Sunday, Oct. 9, Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Game 7: Monday, Oct. 10, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Game 8: Thursday, Oct. 13, Chicago Bears vs. Washington Commanders
Game 9: Sunday, Oct. 16, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals
Game 10: Monday, Oct. 17, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
Game 11: Thursday, Oct. 20, Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints
Game 12: Sunday, Oct. 23, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New York Giants
Game 13: Sunday, Oct 23, Miami Dolphins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Game 14: Thursday, Oct. 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Game 15: Sunday, Oct. 30, Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals
Game 16: Monday, Oct 31, Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Game 17: Thursday, Nov. 3, Houston Texans vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Game 18: Sunday, Nov. 6, Atlanta Falcons vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Game 19: Monday, Nov. 7, New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens
Game 20: Thursday, Nov. 10, Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Game 21: Sunday, Nov 13, Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings
Game 22: Monday, Nov. 14, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Commanders
Game 23: Thursday, Nov. 17, Green Bay Packers vs. Tennessee Titans
Game 24: Sunday, Nov. 20, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Game 25: Thursday, Nov. 24, Detroit Lions vs. Buffalo Bills
Game 26: Sunday, Nov. 27, New York Jets vs. Chicago Bears
Game 27: Monday, Nov. 28, Indianapolis Colts vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Game 28: Thursday, Dec. 1, New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills
Game 29: Sunday, Dec. 4, New York Giants vs. Washington Commanders
Game 30: Sunday, Dec. 4, Dallas Cowboys vs. Indianapolis Colts
Game 31: Thursday, Dec. 8, Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks
Game 32: Sunday, Dec. 11, Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars