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Super Bowl LVII is heading our way on February 12, which means it's almost time to enjoy the delicious game day food while watching epic Super Bowl commercials in between plays. But one thing is iconic to Super Bowl Sunday, and that is the always memorable — and oftentimes unbelievable — halftime show.
This year, the NFL is kicking into high gear with a celebrated artist who will perform live from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Almost seven years after releasing her last alum Anti, Rihanna is set to deliver a performance everyone will be talking about long after the winning team throws the final touchdown.
"I want to incorporate different aspects of entertainment and things that I just enjoy and bring it to the stage," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "I want to celebrate the music that I’ve made."
With as much fame as the Fenty Beauty founder has, it's easy to think that the NFL is paying a lot of money for her to make a musical comeback. This would make sense, as last year's halftime performance with Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar drew in 112 million viewers.
But how much do halftime performers get paid? Turns out, it's a lot less than one would expect. What's more, artists who perform at the Super Bowl historically have made little to nothing.
How much do Super Bowl halftime performers get paid?
The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most coveted gigs on live TV with millions tuning in each year. Despite this, the organization has not paid its star performers — Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, The Black Eyed Peas, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and others — in years.
According to Forbes, the NFL offered 2020's headliners, Shakira and J.Lo, "union scale," which is "a fraction of the six- and seven-figure sums" the artists usually earn regularly.
"We do not pay the artists. We cover expenses and production costs," said NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter to Forbes in 2016.
When it comes to creating the ultimate performance, artists tapped for the halftime show can learn a few things from the headliner from 2021, the Weeknd. The singer, while preparing for Super Bowl LV, told Billboard that he was adamant about making his 15-minute set a true "cinematic experience."
To achieve that, the Weeknd’s manager Wassim "Sal" Slaiby revealed that the artist contributed $7 million of his own money to make the production "what he envisioned." This amount was on top of what the sports organization fronted to cover the usual travel and production fees of the Pepsi-sponsored event, which has been reported to cost as much as $10 million.
That said, there are some huge benefits for participating artists beyond a big paycheck from the NFL. Because so many people are guaranteed to watch the event, artists are given unmatched exposure and an opportune time to promote their latest albums, tours and projects.
Plus, historically speaking, the 15-minute show has resulted in some pretty hefty financial gains for the singers. According to Spotify, after 2020’s Super Bowl halftime show, Shakira’s streams spiked by 230% while JLo’s went up 335%. Meanwhile, Justin's music sales rose 534% after his appearance in 2018.
In Rihanna's case, she may have a different way of earning payment. Alongside her performance, the Grammy Award-winning artist will also be filming a documentary for Apple TV+. Multiple reports say she will show all the ins and outs of the big performance, from rehearsals to cuts from the halftime show itself. This may sound similar to what J.Lo did after her performance with the Netflix release of Halftime.
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