Super Bowl Stickup.
What can only be described as a shakedown of the music industry, the Wall Street Journal has revealed that the National Football League is actually asking for a “financial contribution” from any act that wants to play the halftime gig during the Super Bowl.
The NFL has narrowed down its list of this year’s potential Super Bowl halftime acts to three artists – Coldplay, Katy Perry and Rihanna (sorry Weird Al fans – I guess the petition didn’t work). When the NFL reportedly notified the representation of these three acts – supposedly to congratulate them on being one of the final three acts being considered – they also asked at least a few of the performers if they would be willing to donate a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the National Football League, or, if they would make some sort of direct financial donation in exchange for being considered for the halftime show.
As can be imagined of the victim of any sort of heist, the representatives for the artists were more than cool to the prospect of having to “pay to play.”
In the past, the NFL has never paid artists to perform in the coveted Super Bowl halftime slot, but they have covered their travel costs and production expenses.
When asked about the allegations, the NFL didn’t deny them. NFL spokeswoman Joanna Hunter did say that the league’s contracts with performers were confidential and that it’s only goal was to put on the “best possible show.”
Apparently that show now includes the highest bidder.
It’s not clear how much money the NFL is asking for in exchange for the opportunity to play the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The question is would the acts being considered – some of the biggest acts in modern music – gain much from the exposure of being on the Super Bowl halftime show? Are the musicians helping to make the Super Bowl spectacle more entertaining, or is the NFL doing Coldplay, Katy Perry and Rihanna a favor exposing them to a wider audience?
The NFL grossed somewhere around $9 billion last year in ticket sales alone according to Forbes Magazine – and it’s not paying taxes. That’s right, the National Football League, one of the biggest moneymakers in the world is categorized as a nonprofit organization and therefore doesn’t pay federal taxes.
Krista Jenkins, director of the polling unit and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University, said:
“With billions likely to flow from the Super Bowl, it would seem a contradiction that the organization behind it all would be technically a not-for-profit, but that is indeed true about the NFL.”
Verging on tens of billions of dollars in revenue annually and immunity from federal taxes, and now the NFL expects artists to pay the league for the possibility of being named to the Super Bowl halftime slot?
Does that make sense to you?
image via SB Nation