The NFL has the highest revenue of any sports league in the world. It is the most popular sport in the United States and Sundays are no longer just a day of worship, it’s a day of football.
The Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event of the year. Some watch it for the game, some watch it for the commercials, and some watch it for the halftime show.
Over 111 million people watched the Super Bowl last season between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos and in 2012, the NFL’s revenue was about $9.5 billion.
Halftime acts such as Bruno Mars, U2, Madonna and Beyonce have performed at the Super Bowl for exposure and have never been paid.
But now, the NFL is looking to increase their cash flow and ask artists to pay to play at the Super Bowl halftime show.
Why would they do this?
It all comes down to making money and working toward reaching their 2027 goal of $25 billion in revenue.
There are two ways to look at this proposition by the NFL. They are either greedy or smart.
How about both?
The world’s most powerful sports league can call the shots they want. Companies pay $4 million for 30 seconds of commercial time during the Super Bowl.
Bruno Mars, last year’s halftime performer, had his best year as a performer this past year. He got a 12-minute performance which if broken down into 30-second commercial time is worth $96 million. Mars paid nothing for the exposure for a performance that was more watched than the actual game. This year, Mars has pulled in a career-best $60 million in earnings. That’s more than eight times the amount he brought in three years ago.
There is no question the NFL wants more money. If they didn’t, the halftime show would stay the same. They are trying to increase revenue and the performer is going to get increased exposure by playing at the halftime show.
Now, look at it from a performer’s perspective.
It’s down to three finalists for this upcoming season’s halftime show: Coldplay, Rihanna and Katy Perry.
Yes, the exposure is excellent for each act, but what about the negatives?
By paying to play at an event, it loses some of its luster. The act wouldn’t be handpicked but instead they would have just big the highest to play at halftime. Many big time acts, including the three mentioned are fine without the exposure because they are already global superstars. Big acts could potentially just say no and the NFL is stuck with mid-level acts.
The NFL is covering all its bases here. They are a business and this is a business decision.
To continue growing and increasing revenue, they need to look at new avenues and this is one. Whether or not they decide to go through with it, on February 1, 2015, all eyes will be on the Super Bowl halftime show.