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The Super Bowl halftime show has long been a focal point of the TV calendar: A 12-minute musical interlude to the most watched TV event in America, and a launching pad for products, tours and artists.
Now, the league is thinking about how to expand the halftime show beyond the confines of the big game, and, as a source familiar with the matter tells The Hollywood Reporter, making it “bigger, taking different aspects of it and making it stand way outside of the 12 minutes.”
That fresh thinking comes as the entitlement sponsorship rights for the halftime show are due to come up in 2022. Pepsi has been the presenting sponsor for the show (“The Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show”) since Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, but Super Bowl LVI, which will be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, is the last game under the existing agreement. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar are scheduled to perform.
A source says talks with Pepsi are ongoing, but the halftime show’s success recently (driven in no small part by Pepsi’s reach and marketing prowess) has the league also looking at other potential partners.
Over the past few years, the halftime show has been “morphing into a platform,” the source says, not just for the league and Pepsi, but for the artists as well. Katy Perry starred in a documentary exploring what went into her 2015 halftime show performance, while Lady Gaga’s 2017 Netflix documentary Five Foot Two included extensive footage of her preparations for her 2017 performance.
That extra content, be it documentary footage around the preparations for the show or behind-the-scenes access, or footage from dress rehearsals or bonus performances, is seen as a way to make the show bigger and extend it beyond the day of the game. And so the NFL is looking at potential partners in the media or distribution space, as well as the music space, all of which could benefit from that bonus content, or the potential for promotions around tours, albums, etc.
“The music industry benefits from this show,” the source said.
That extra content is critical, as it both makes the halftime show potentially more valuable for the NFL as it seeks sponsorships, while also making it more valuable for potential partners, who may be able to more efficiently monetize that content.
Pepsi, with its background in promotion and activations, has had a hands-on role in conceptualizing each year’s show, and whoever the title sponsor is going forward will play a similar role. For the past few years the league has also partnered with Jay-Z and his Roc Nation on producing the show.
Ultimately, the league is hoping to find a partner open to that collaboration, and serving the mutual interests of the league, the artists and the brand, in promoting and growing the show.
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