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Exposure And Dollars: The Inside Scoop on Super Bowl Halftime’s Big Business

Over the weekend, Super Bowl LVIII's airwaves weren't the only ones buzzing—Usher's halftime extravaganza captivated a staggering 129.3 million viewers, shattering records and setting the stage ablaze with an all-time NFL high!

In an innovative partnership, Apple Music contributes $50 million each year to be the presenting sponsor of the Super Bowl's halftime extravaganza, a stage that sees Usher gracing its platform this year without financial compensation. His strategy, however, transcends immediate payout, aiming instead to harness the unparalleled visibility to boost his fan base, escalate his concert sales, and amplify his streams.

This approach is not unprecedented. A litany of music royalty including Prince, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, The Rolling Stones, and Rihanna have all taken the halftime stage, not for direct payment, but for the immeasurable exposure it offers.

Here's the breakdown:

- The NFL secures a $50 million sponsorship deal annually.

- Artists are allocated a production budget of approximately $15 million.

This budget is designated for the hiring of 2,000 to 3,000 temporary staff members for various needs ranging from set construction and security to dancers and promotional activities. Yet, the artists themselves see none of this sponsorship money directly. In certain cases, artists have invested millions from their own funds into their performances, with The Weeknd and Dr. Dre having reportedly spent $7 million each on their respective shows.

The rationale? Unprecedented exposure. The Super Bowl captivates around 115 million viewers, offering a platform far more valuable than any traditional performance fee could match. For perspective, brands shell out $7 million for mere 30-second ad slots during the game, while Usher secures a 13-minute spotlight at no charge.

The impact is quantifiable. Post-Super Bowl, Justin Timberlake's music sales surged by 534%, Travis Scott's performance fee escalated to $1 million from $500,000, and Jennifer Lopez along with Shakira witnessed a combined increase of 3 million Instagram followers. Rihanna's Super Bowl performance even surpassed the game's viewership, highlighting the immense reach and potential for artist growth.

In anticipation of leveraging this massive exposure, Usher is set to release his new album "Coming Home" right before the Super Bowl, aiming for chart-topping success. He's also engaging in several endorsement deals and will feature in a commercial, further amplifying his brand. Moreover, capitalizing on the typical 50% surge in concert ticket searches post-Super Bowl performance, Usher announced a 24-city arena tour, with tickets going on sale the moment he exits the stage.

This symbiotic relationship between the NFL and performing artists represents a modern-day barter system where both parties immensely benefit: the NFL enjoys the prestige of hosting globally acclaimed talents, while the artists gain access to a platform that provides them with unparalleled exposure without the need for a direct payment. It's a strategic play that continues to redefine the intersection of sports, music, and business acumen.


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