The NFL announced late Thursday that Apple Music will be the league’s new partner for the Super Bowl halftime show. The multi-year deal will begin with Super Bowl 57 on Feb. 12, 2023.
“We are proud to welcome Apple Music to the NFL family as our new partner for the iconic Super Bowl Halftime Show,” said Nana-Yaw Asamoah, senior vice president of partner strategy for the NFL. “We couldn’t think of a more appropriate partner for the world’s most-watched musical performance than Apple Music, a service that entertains, inspires and motivates millions of people around the world through the intersection of music and technology.”
The deal stems from negotiations between the NFL and Apple over rights to stream the NFL Sunday Ticket on AppleTV, seeking as much as $2.5 billion, according to the New York Times. Though an exact amount has yet to be released, analysts told the Times that the sponsorship of the halftime show was likely in the range of $50 million.
Apple typically doesn’t sponsor events that the tech giant isn’t running on its own. The last event to have the company’s direct support was the 2016 Met Gala, The New York Times wrote. While Apple may not own the event, several of the larger artists Apple Music streams on its platform have performed in the halftime show in the past, such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar performing last year. Gaining rights over the NFL Sunday Ticket wouldn’t be a move uncharacteristic for AppleTV, either, considering the streaming service already has rights to Major League Baseball games and Major League Soccer matches, according to Barron’s.
Yahoo Finance said that advertising and brand recognition may also be a large motivator for the deal. During Super Bowl 56, Pepsi was the brand most verbally mentioned during the Super Bowl and had the fourth-most screen time during the event, beaten only by Nike, Bose and Gatorade. Yahoo reported that 120 million viewers tuned in last year to Super Bowl 56.
NFL told the Hollywood Reporter last year that the league was looking to make the event “bigger, taking different aspects of (the halftime show) and making it stand way outside of the 12 minutes.” Now that Pepsi is “passing the mic” to Apple, speculation has started over who will be on stage for Super Bowl 57.
One candidate, Taylor Swift, has been trending following the NFL and Apple Music’s announcement, as her long-time sponsorship with Coca-Cola has prevented her from performing in the Pepsi-backed halftime show. Another reason behind fan speculation is Swift has been partnered with Apple Music for some time, having appeared in Apple Music commercials in the past, the New York Post reported.