Artists shouldn’t have to pay to play at the Super Bowl

Aug 19, 2014, 3:53 PM | Updated: Jan 28, 2015, 9:34 am
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It’s one of the biggest gigs a musical act can score: the Super Bowl halftime show. And now the National Football League reportedly wants artists to pay to play.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the NFL is considering three candidates to provide entertainment at Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale: Katy Perry, Coldplay and Rihanna. When reaching out to these artists, the NFL reportedly asked if any of the acts “would be willing to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league, or if they would make some other type of financial contribution, in exchange for the halftime gig.” The stars’ representatives did not take kindly to the idea.

Do you blame them? I don’t!

I think the current arrangement the NFL has with its halftime performers is fair. There’s no question that the artists who perform get incredible publicity. When Bruno Mars took the stage at the halftime show back in February, a record 115 million people tuned in. That type of exposure is unmatched.

But, you have to remember that the artists are also playing for free. On tour, Beyonce can pull in over $2 million a night. How often do you work for weeks or months on something (think of the preparation that goes into a Super Bowl halftime show) and not get paid?

The league covers all expenses associated with the performance, as it should. Those costs include travel, lodging, setup, fees for backup dancers, musicians, etc. When Beyonce performed at the Super Bowl, that cost was over $600,000, which is certainly significant. But, in the scheme of things, it’s just a drop in the bucket for the league.

The NFL hauls in around $9 billion annually in revenue. Apparently, realizing that it had not yet monetized every single aspect of the biggest game of the year, the league is now trying to milk even more money.

I say leave things they way there are. It’s a fair deal. The artists work for free in exchange for the worldwide publicity and monetary potential the gig brings. Sure they sell more albums, more tickets to their concerts and increase their notoriety. But a superstar halftime act also brings recognition and positive attention to the NFL. Let’s be honest, there are some people that tune into the big game just for the commercials and the halftime show.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!

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Artists shouldn’t have to pay to play at the Super Bowl