Source: The NFL Is Demanding ‘Several Million Dollars’ to Play the Super Bowl…

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Yesterday, word leaked that the NFL is asking artists to pay for the privilege of playing the Super Bowl halftime show.  Now, a music industry attorney with close knowledge of those discussions has agreed to share details on those negotiations with Digital Music News.  “[The NFL is] basically asking for what I’d estimate to be several million dollars to play the Super Bowl — at  least that much — but they haven’t specified the exact amount nor have they specified the way that the money would be actually paid,” the attorney described.

“Basically [the NFL] is saying, ‘show us what you can give us while we consider you [for the halftime performance]’.”

The attorney noted that there have not been firm demand, and contract terms have not been exchanged.  But it appears that the payment could be made in several ways, including an upfront payment that would likely start in the low millions.  “But [the NFL is] also trying to figure out if they would make more by taking a percentage of something downstream, let’s say of the tour that starts right after [the Super Bowl performance] or an album released just after, merchandise, that sort of thing.  So from the vantage point of the artist, you have to figure out if that makes sense, or if you ‘save’ money – and I say  the word ‘save’ with hesitation – just paying upfront.”

+Bruno Mars Receives $0 for His Superbowl Halftime Performance…

Understandably, reactions to this proposal have been mixed within the music community, especially from managers and artists that feel that they are bringing massive value to the Super Bowl.  In other words, if millions of users stick around to see a popular artist perform during halftime, why should you pay millions to the NFL for that?

The answer, according to the attorney, is that the NFL is starting to view the halftime performance as ‘free air time,’ when thirty seconds of airtime (ie, a commercial) goes for millions.

“They’re wondering, ‘who got more out of the last Super Bowl halftime, us or the Red Hot Chili Peppers?'”

+The Red Hot Chili Peppers Faked Their Super Bowl Performance…

Indeed, last year the NFL not only paid $0 to the Red Hot Chili Peppers for their performance, but they also stiffed the main attraction, Bruno Mars.  And, collected an estimated tens of millions from halftime sponsors. But Bruno Mars an RHCP still agreed to play the gig, with the Peppers even agreeing to compromise their commitment to live performance.  While the band jumped around onstage, onlookers realized that Flea’s bass was completely unplugged, part of a pre-recording demand imposed by the NFL.

More as it develops.

16 Responses

  1. Frank

    Assuming the performer has songwriter credits/publishing rights to the material that’s performed at the Super Bowl, wouldn’t that performer make a boatload of cash in public performance royalties? Isn’t that why the NFL thinks it has leverage to ask for pay-to-play? It’d be great if someone can chime in with an informed opinion on this angle, specifically a rough dollar figure for the royalties generated by the public performance of one composition during the Super Bowl.

    • FarePlay

      Was your older brother a musician and picked on you as a child, or do you just have contempt for musicians because you just have contempt for musicians?

      Or do you just have out for the wealthy, successful musicians, because surely they are the only ones who have the bank to pay?

  2. GGG

    Just about any artist that would be able to play the SB has endorsed plenty of stuff. If not, any artist that would want to play the SB should certainly know the NFL puts ads on everything. So nobody should be above “selling out.” So just sell ads all over the stage to cover costs. I’m sure the NFL could overcharge and still make money on that.

    • Faza (TCM)

      Somehow I get the feeling that putting your own ads on the stage wouldn’t fly. Since the NFL is already in the “you’re getting millions of dollars in exposure” mindset, I wouldn’t be particularly surprised if they nixed the idea – especially if they can sell advertising on the stage themselves.

      • GGG

        I meant the NFL, not the acts.

        They also just don’t have the weight they think they do in this. If one of my bands raised $10M and called up the NFL, they wouldn’t let us play. The need a huge name for ratings to justify sponsorship money.

        • Faza (TCM)

          Okay, I misunderstood. But now I don’t know what you’re trying to say, apart from the fact that the NFL are bunch of greedy crawdads – but we knew that already.

          The way I see it, the NFL now sees the half-time show at SB as another kind of advertising space (for musical acts), so I fail to see how any amount of advertising displayed on the stage is going to change that: it just means even more money for the NFL.

          From the artist’s perspective, any artist big enough to be even considered for playing the Super Bowl is not going to need that kind of advertising: everyone who cares already knows who they are and what they play. Those football fans who don’t are most likely not interested in the first place, so the actual advertising benefit seems dubious. The sensible reaction from any artist or manager approached by the NFL with such a proposal is to tell them to stick it where the sun shineth not; it is highly unlikely that the artist will see anything like that kind of money from sales directly attributable to the fact they played the Super Bowl.

          • GGG

            I’m saying if the NFL wants to recoup their hospitality/productions costs and/or make money, there’s a billion more ways they can cram a bunch of ads into a halftime show, instead of putting that on the acts.

    • Anonymous

      Nah, stick it to them the whole way, they honestly deserve everything they are getting right now, scuttle them for all i care…

      I say charge them as many millions as you can squeeze out of the fame whores and market manipulators.

      They ruin music and deserve to pay the ultimate price!

      If the Super Bowl wants to really satiate their true fan base, do a live Porn show at halftime and pay them to do it just to stick it in further, i’d tune in for that…


  3. yummy

    I just launched a Kickstarter to send ICP to the Super Bowl

  4. Nissl

    The thing is, making an act pay makes the slot much less valuable, at least for this year. The payment to the NFL will dominate all of the internet discussion around the performance. Instead of the message being “here’s one of the biggest superstars on the planet” it’s “here’s a performer desperate for exposure, so desperate they paid.” Yes, money runs lots of things in mainstream music, but the general public still doesn’t realize that. I guess you could double down on the idea that they’re so promising the label was willing to pay for a huge commercial, but still I don’t think that would go completely right…

    Subtle considerations like paying for the staging & performers, a few free benefit/promotion concerts, free music licensing during the season, etc. are the most the NFL can get here without a bit of damage.

  5. Stephen Kokas

    Truly not surprised…it’s an untapped revenue source, and this IS an “I-need-a-new-gold-yacht” capitalistic country. The problem I see is that if I’m the band PAYING to play the superbowl, I’m gonna do my show, not theirs. Also, as of right now, the NFL gets a free premium act and can advertise before, during, and after the performance, which keeps those ad slots relevant….(as opposed to a majority of people muting the TV for 30 minutes or taking a long break). What do you think would happen if the #1 richest artist in 2014, Taylor Swift paid to perform? In return for working for free (and paying their own crew…sometimes hundreds of people), the artists get a nice bump in tour sales. Also, let’s be honest, nobody buys albums, so a bump in album sales is like saying a couple thousand more than normal. It’s a fair balance now…why make a few more bucks and piss off everyone in the process? The flip side to all this is eff the behemoth music industry. If millionaires want to pay billionaires, it won’t cost me any sleep. I’m not gonna cry if Bon Jovi wants to pay $10 million to vomit music on stage. I’ll just feel bad that musicians I enjoy won’t be in the running…ever.

  6. 1stworldsuperstarproblems

    this is like hearing a couple homeless guys arguing about whether the Queen wears sapphires or diamonds when she’s having breakfast.

  7. danwriter

    Bruno Mars was the perfect artist for the SB halftime show: nascent, breaking, and the sales bump he got — 40K units the week after the show vs 15K the week before, as per Billboard — is plainly causal. The thing is, how many of those sort of artists are going to be able to pony up for the NFL? (I’m not even arguing the morality of the NFL’s position; we’re way beyond that at this point.) The ones who can, who are the same cohort that the NFL has been using for halftime in the past, like the Stones and the Who, almost certainly wouldn’t pay, they don’t have to, and neither would others in their group that could be palusible future candidates, like the Eagles, Elton John or Eric Clapton. So the NFL’s action, if it pursues this, simply acts to narrow their own future choices. Furthermore, it pushes the selection of possible artists towards the most saccarine pop choices, ones that would get the financial backing the NFL demands from their (major) labels. And maybe that’s where it was all going anyway.

  8. Willis

    It will be interesting to see what the halftime show looks like without any musical performers.

    • Anonymous

      They have a line up around the World for musical acts to play the Super Bowl.

      There will always be some fame hungry person or crew or whatever who will pony up that fee to be the talk for the year, its a huge game with a huge viewership.

      The music biz simply doesnt have the balls to stand up across the board. Theres no unity, there a motherfucking mutiny!


  9. Drummer John

    I think we should all boycott anyone who advertises during the halftime show of the super bowl. How much $$$$ does the NFL need? BTW…any musician who pays to play is a fool of the highest order!