Performing at the Super Bowl halftime show means huge exposure and a boom in sales for even the most hallowed artist, which is why performers like Beyoncé, Madonna, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen have agreed to perform free of charge. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, however, the NFL is now asking potential halftime artists to pay them to perform.
The NFL reasons that the exposure halftime performers receive boost their album and tour sales substantially. Last year’s show brought in 115.3 million viewers -- about 3 million more viewers than the game's average. To put that into perspective, the 86th Academy Awards had 43.8 million viewers and the 56th Grammy Awards had 28.5 million.
Bruno Mars, last year’s performer, began selling tickets for his 2013/2014 Moonshine Jungle Tour the day after the Super Bowl. The tour grossed $98.3 million in sales. Beyoncé, the 2013 halftime star, did the same with her Mrs. Carter Show tour, which grossed $188.6 million in sales. The NFL covers travel and production costs for the halftime show and though Pepsi is the show's biggest sponsor it does not “sign or work any deals with the talent selected.” Beyoncé, however, inked a deal with Pepsi for $50 million that happened to coincide with her Super Bowl appearance.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the NFL contacted representatives of Katy Perry, Coldplay and Rihanna about potentially playing the 2015 halftime show and asked some of the artists if they would be willing to give up a portion of their post-Super Bowl income in order to land the job.
“You’re talking about a huge audience here,” says Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Aaron Task. “We’re talking about tent-pole events...that halftime show is a huge opportunity for whoever gets chosen to do it.”
Though halftime shows cost millions to produce, the NFL isn’t going broke because of them. In 2013 the league made over $9 billion, making them the most profitable sports league in the world.
“The NFL is unbelievably powerful,” says Task. “That’s why they’re able to do this or even talk about doing it.”