NFL Halftime Show Seeks Artist Payment

The National Football League has in some cases inquired about the possibility of having the musicians who might play the halftime show for Super Bowl XLIX pay for the privilege of doing so, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper said Tuesday that the NFL asked representatives of Coldplay, Katy Perry and Rihanna if they would be willing to make some sort of financial contribution to the League in exchange for their appearance, citing people familiar with the matter. One potential scenario involved the artist contributing some portion of post-Super Bowl tour income to the NFL. The artists gave the ideas a “chilly reception,” the paper reported.

“Our focus is putting on the best show for the millions of fans who watch it,” said NFL spokeswoman Joanna Hunter, adding that details of conversations about contracts with artists are “confidential.”

The effort may show the NFL attempting to defray costs of one of the Super Bowl’s signature events. Once centered on marching bands and contributions from performance groups such as “Up With People,” the halftime show has for several years been filled by a concert from a popular musician or rock band. Last year, the NFL and Pepsi made a bid for youth, tapping Bruno Mars and The Red Hot Chili Peppers to take the reins of the mid-game event. For several years prior, the halftime show featured older artists like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Madonna. Production costs for the event are said to have soared to $10 million.

The NFL may be looking at the halo effect a musical performance at the Super Bowl has on the artist’s work. Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” album saw sales increase 180% during the week of the 2014 Super Bowl, and then rise 92% in the week following the game, according to data from Billboard. After Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers appeared in the halftime show of the 2008 game, sales of the band’s “Greatest Hits” album rose 196%, to 33,000 in the week following the game. Digital sales of individual songs played during the band’s mini-concert also rose significantly.

Super Bowl XLIX is slated to take place near Phoenix on Feb. 1. NBC will telecast the game. Pepsi is the sponsor of the halftime show. A Pepsi spokeswoman told the paper the company is not involved in the signing of talent for the event.

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