Earlier this week it was revealed that the NFL is asking the three finalists to be the halftime act of this year's Super Bowl to make a "financial contribution" to the league.
In other words, the NFL now wants music acts to pay for the exposure you get from being on the most-watched television event of the year. The response from most fans was overwhelmingly negative.
While many may think it is a silly money-grab (it is), it is also a genius move by the NFL.
The Great Con.
Let's face it, the Super Bowl is unlike anything else in sports or television. More than 110 million people will watch the game. More than that will watch the halftime show.
This allows the NFL and the networks to do things that would never make sense in another arena.
For example, Super Bowl commercials are a huge part of the broadcast, maybe even bigger than the game itself. The commercials increase the ratings for the network, which in turn makes the broadcast more valuable and increases what networks are willing to pay the NFL for the right to broadcast the event.
And yet, even though the network needs the commercials to maximize the ratings, Fox was still able to charge $4 million for a 30-second commercial during this last year's Super Bowl. That they sold them out so quickly suggests they could have charged a lot more.
Why? Because the companies are willing to do it and they want the exposure even though some think they are not worth the price.
It only takes one.
In the end, it is a genius move simply because somebody will pay. In fact, at least one record label has already made an offer to the NFL.
Hard Rock Records says it has offered the NFL $1 million for its artists The Carnabys to play at the Super Bowl.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) August 21, 2014
There are probably more lining up and the bidding will just go higher as labels look at the Super Bowl as a way to jump start the career of a young artist or group, revive the careers of some that are older, or simply increase the exposure of an already popular act to people with other musical tastes.
As soon as one label pays the precedent will be set.
And don't forget, the halftime show is more than 30 minutes long. The NFL could fit in a 3-4 acts and make millions.
Revenue without changing the game.
But the true genius is that the NFL will be able to create a new revenue stream without impacting the game or true football fans at all. The game itself will not change and most diehard fans don't care who is performing at halftime.
Ultimately, the NFL is two things. It is the force behind the game of gridiron football that so many people love, and it is a business with owners who want to make money. Charging halftime acts allows them to do the latter without impacting the former.
Well, until they lengthen the halftime show to fit in more acts to make even more money. But we'll cross that road later.
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