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  • Writer's pictureKhaled Al-Kulaib

Is the NFL a sports league or a media company?


The NFL and Apple have entered into a partnership where Apple is paying the NFL $250 million over five years to sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show. However, this year's performer, Rihanna, won't be receiving a single penny for her performance. This is a common occurrence among many of the world's most famous artists who have performed at the Super Bowl, including Prince, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, and more.


The NFL provides artists with a production budget of $10 to $15 million, which covers the costs of setting design, security, dancers, and marketing, but the artists themselves don't receive any of the money. In fact, some artists end up spending millions of dollars of their own funds on the performance. For example, The Weeknd spent $7 million on his show at Super Bowl 55 and Dr. Dre reportedly spent a similar amount last year.


Why do artists perform for free? Exposure. The Super Bowl is watched by 200 million people worldwide, making it a massive platform for artists to showcase their talent and gain new fans. The exposure can also translate into increased music sales, concert ticket sales, and social media followers. For example, Justin Timberlake saw a 534% increase in music sales after his Super Bowl performance, and The Weeknd sold one million concert tickets a week after his Super Bowl appearance.


Rihanna hasn't released an album since 2016 and doesn't have an upcoming tour, but she still has opportunities to make money, such as a documentary on her Super Bowl performance that is being produced by Apple TV.


However, not everyone involved in the halftime show is as fortunate. In the past, the NFL asked professional dancers to volunteer during the halftime show, requiring them to attend 72 hours of rehearsals leading up to the game. However, after a leaked contract went viral, the NFL now pays dancers $15 per hour.


Despite the NFL making millions from the halftime show, many people are still willing to perform for free, given the potential to reach 200 million viewers and make billions of impressions on social media.

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