Pay to Play? NFL Reportedly Wants a Cut of Sales From Musicians Who Perform at Super Bowl

Aug 19, 2014  •  Post A Comment

The National Football League is changing the rules for musicians who perform during the halftime show at the Super Bowl, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

“In a twist this year, the league has asked artists under consideration for the high-profile gig to pay to play, according to people familiar with the matter,” the story reports. “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.”

Joanna Hunter, a spokeswoman for the NFL, wasn’t shedding any light, saying the league’s contracts with the performers are confidential and adding that the NFL’s goal is “to put on the best possible show.” On the subject of who would be performing, Hunter said, “When we have something to announce, we’ll announce it.”

The big game is scheduled for Feb. 1, 2015, near Phoenix.

“It’s unclear how much money the NFL was seeking, and whether it would likely have amounted to more or less than the extra income the chosen performer might stand to generate from the exposure. No decision has been made yet and it is possible another act could be selected,” The WSJ report notes.

Citing its inside sources, the article adds that the pay-to-play suggestion has not been well-received by reps for the artists.

The report notes: “The Super Bowl halftime show, which this year featured the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars, drew a record 115.3 million viewers in February, according to the NFL, more than the game itself. The entire event averaged 112.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen.”

super bowl 2015-early logo


  1. REALLY? The NFL want’s artists to pay to play the Super Bowl? The NFL makes enough money so that football teams now spend a BILLION dollars for a stadium, and yet they want to reach into musicians’ pockets too? I would call that unbridled greed. If I were a musician famous enough to warrant playing halftime, I’d tell the NFL to pound sand…

  2. Screw these choices – we want Weird Al Yankovic!

  3. John is right!!!

  4. How long do you think it will be before the NFL starts to take a dive ?

  5. We agree with Scott and others here- the NFL owners are being disgustingly greedy, like many rich people these days. Total greed! We agree that the artists should tell the NFL owners to pound sand. Better yet…ALL ARTISTS SHOULD NOW BOYCOTT THE SUPERBOWL!!! That would be cool!!

  6. I was around Pete Rozelle off and on for fifteen years and had opportunities to talk off-the-record with him about many NFL issues. He was singularly the person who brought the league to an enviable level as the preeminent sports enterprise.

    I would never put words in anyone’s mouth.

    But, I will make this observation. Rozelle was pro NFL in every moment, and I feel this “pay-to-play” subject would never have come from his office.

    The so-called “thinking” behind the halftime money grab is beyond being out-of-line. I encourage the artists and their representatives to remain with the fans in the stands.
    Peter Bright

  7. Are they strapped for cash?

  8. The NFL also operates as a non-profit – without giving anything back.

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