NFL Reportedly Asking Potential Super Bowl Halftime Acts to Pay to Perform

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02:  Bruno Mars performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2014

The National Football League knows the publicity associated with performing during the Super Bowl halftime show. Now it apparently wants to get compensated by the group or artist for the opportunity to become the featured act.

Tom Ley of Deadspin passed along a report from Hannah Karp of The Wall Street Journal, which states league representatives asked the finalists whether they would provide a financial reward if given the spot:

The NFL has narrowed down the list of potential performers for the 2015 Super Bowl to three candidates: Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Coldplay, these people said. While notifying the artists' camps of their candidacy, league representatives also asked at least some of the acts if they 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 report also notes the league usually hasn't paid its performers either. Most of the time the stars chosen take the gig for the chance to perform in front of a worldwide audience, which serves as compensation for what amounts to a short concert.

It's unclear what type of response the NFL received from some of the biggest acts in music. Also unknown is whether agreeing to pay would give one candidate a clear inside track for the gig, even though that would make sense.

Nielsen reported back in February that 111.5 million people watched the Super Bowl on Fox last year. That doesn't count people watching elsewhere around the world or those that watched a live stream of the event.

The question is whether that type of audience is worth paying for. Considering the big names of the music world reportedly in the mix, it might come as a shock to the system to get asked for money in order to play.

Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post sees it simply as another cash grab:

Though it may be early to start talking about the Super Bowl, the NFL made its selection of Bruno Mars for the 2014 edition of the event last September. So the league may be looking to finalize its decision in the near future.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02:  Bruno Mars peforms withe the Red Hot Chili Peppers during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

One thing it shouldn't do is risk losing the top acts in order to make a little extra money. The halftime show is a major attraction for the casual viewers who aren't diehard football fans. Downgrading that aspect of the event would damage the spectacle as a whole.

That said, it will be interesting to see whether Rihanna, Katy Perry or Coldplay are willing to pay to ensure their place in the spotlight on Feb. 1.


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