As Usual, The NFL Won’t Pay for the Super Bowl Halftime Performance. Here’s Why.

The New England Patriots (damn you, Tom Brady!) and the Atlanta Falcons for Super Bowl LI in Houston February 5, which for me means two things: (1) We start talking about all the commercials we’re going to see; and (2) Stories start coming out about the half time show.

This year, entertainment will come from Lady Gaga who may (or may not) perform part of her set from the roof of NRG Stadium. Sounds…dangerous.

She’ll be reimbursed for all the production costs for her performance—but she will not get paid for anything else. So says the NFL

“Look, we give you an audience of more than 100 million people for whatever it is you want to promote, so that should be enough. Hell, you should be paying us!”

When you break it all down, this makes plenty of sense. Gaga will get about 12 minutes of free exposure during a television event where a 30-second commercial sells for $5 million.

There are plenty of stats to back up the NFL’s position and the Super Bowl effect. When Bruno Mars played a few years ago, his album sales spiked by 92% the following week. And with a Gaga tour planned for this summer, this could really goose ticket sells.

Meanwhile, her production costs—which, like I said, will be covered by the NFL—could be in the millions of dollars.

Gaga’s music is not my thing, but I do enjoy the spectacle of the halftime show. They have to set up, perform and tear down all within 15 minutes. That is a thing of logistical beauty. And it sure beats all those years when halftime featured a marching band, don’t it?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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