The Super Bowl Halftime Show: Should Performers be Paid?

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If you haven’t heard, Super Bowl LIV will be in Miami in February of next year. Though it’s still a bit early to make predictions on participating teams (ugh, come ON, Falcons), the NFL recently announced who will be headlining the halftime show (AKA – the reason I watch besides the commercials). Singers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are set to share the stage. The latter has been in the news lately for failing to pay her taxes. If you think that her paycheck from shaking those truthful hips of hers at the biggest football game of the year will end that problem, I’ve got news for you. Neither singer will get paid a single dime. Zip, zero, nada. And it’s been that way for several years now. Why is that? And more importantly, should performers be paid for the Super Bowl Halftime Show?

The Big Game = big advertising

The NFL makes a ridiculous amount of money on the Super Bowl. Advertisers paid an average of $4 million dollars for a 30 second spot last year. When they can command that much cash, it doesn’t make much sense that they’d pay an artist to play. A few years ago, they even considered making THE ARTISTS pay to play. Fortunately, that idea was abandoned, probably due to the terrible press. Because, you know, the NFL never gets terrible press.

The reasoning behind not paying the artists apparently is that the Halftime Show is basically one giant, 10 minute ad for the performer. Artists see a boost in album/song sales after the show. Several artists announce tours soon after their performance airs, and those tours seem to do well. I have to begrudgingly admit that it doesn’t make sense for the NFL to pay them.


I couldn’t find exact information, but it looks like the NFL hasn’t paid performers to play for several years now. The good news is, the NFL does cover the cost of staging the show. I was glad to learn that since huge singers like Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are much more than just their voices. They are supported by their band, stagehands, numerous production employees, and often their families. Though the singers themselves could comfortably pay for their room and board, it would be more difficult for those other folks, particularly when every hotel within a 100 mile radius of the stadium is occupied.

I’m excited for the show – I’ve always appreciated JLo for her catchy tunes, but never really been a huge fan. However, I am HERE for MY QUEEN, SHAKIRA! I’m thinking they’re going to slay. So far, Lady Gaga back in 2017 still holds the record for the most-watched Halftime show, across all platforms. I’m betting the 2020 show will give her a run for her money, especially because I imagine Lopez and Shakira have just as much, if not more, international appeal. Though I understand why, it still kind of baffles me that performers aren’t paid for the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

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