Here's How The NFL Got Away With Paying Rihanna 'Nothing' for Her Halftime Show

© Twitter/@NFLRihanna at the Super Bowl Halftime Show
Rihanna at the Super Bowl Halftime Show - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.02.2023
America’s most sought-after musical gig is also (technically) the country’s least-paying.
When Rihanna took center stage at Super Bowl XLVII in Glendale, Arizona, few viewers were taken by surprise by her choice of songs; after all, Umbrella, Run This Town, and B*tch Better Have My Money all number among her most popular anthems.
But what most didn’t expect was that the Barbadian pop singer was doing it for free.
As one news outlet explained, “despite all the extravaganza and hefty price tag to operate the halftime show, the NFL ends up paying the singers and headline performers nothing.”
That’s because they’re actually working for a currency usually reserved for interns, freelance creatives and starving artists: exposure. But unlike her poorly-paid counterparts at the bottom of the industry, Rihanna is likely to profit handsomely from the arrangement, due to the big surge in interest in her music that’s expected to follow her performance.
Super Bowl halftime shows are among the most costly productions in the entertainment business, and musicians can even end up emptying their own pockets to make every detail perfect – last year, hip-hop artist The Weeknd reportedly shelled out $7 million of his own money on the spectacle – because it’s seen as an investment in their brand.
Indeed, The Weeknd made the money back when sales of his music skyrocketed by 385% after the show, according to Billboard. After their Super Bowl appearances, Jennifer Lopez's Spotify streams jumped by 335% and Shakira's went up by 230%, per Newsweek.
The Super Bowl is generally considered the most-watched television event of the year in the US. With over 112 million viewers tuning in to 2022’s broadcast, advertisers reportedly spent between $6 and $7 million for a thirty-second television spot. And in ticket sales alone the NFL makes about $66.5 million.
But media rights deals seem to be where the NFL has made its most staggering and recent revenue. After signing agreements with CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN, and Amazon, the league will be paid about $110 billion over 11 years which almost doubles the value of its previous contracts.
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