NFL takes Super Bowl halftime rights to market as Pepsi deal expires


Jennifer Lopez performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida.

Robin Alam | Sportswire icon | Getty Images

The 2021 professional football season is just over a month old, and the NFL is already gearing up for Super Bowl 2023.

The National Football League Super Bowl Halftime Show is sponsored by Pepsi, although the deal expires after the 2022 game that marks the end of the current season. The NFL is now considering putting future sponsorship rights on the open market, according to people familiar with the matter who have asked not to be named because negotiations are private.

Pepsi secured the rights to the show in 2012 as part of a larger marketing deal valued at more than $ 2 billion, according to the the Wall Street newspaper. Before that, the auto parts maker Bridgestone owned the rights to the show and paid up to $ 10 million per year.

Pepsi could always renew its deal with the league, but the NFL could also choose to carve out the show at halftime and sell the asset separately, the people said.

The NFL declined to comment for this story.

Pepsi will continue to sponsor the February game in Los Angeles, along with performers including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem. The NFL is teaming up with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation to produce the show. Super Bowl 2022 airs on NBC, which is owned by parent company CNBC Comcast.

The show’s value at halftime could range from $ 25 million to $ 50 million, a marketing expert estimated, using industry metrics. This takes into account what Bridgestone last paid for rights as well as an evolving media landscape that takes social media impressions into account.

Establishing an accurate quote is a challenge. NBC billed $ 6.5 million for 30-second ad space for the upcoming Super Bowl LVI in 2022. Applying that figure to a 12-minute halftime show would assume ad value in the range of $ 150 million. But it’s unlikely that a company will pay that much every year just for half-time performance.

A Super Bowl halftime rights package typically includes ancillary programming during the NFL season, commercials during the Super Bowl, exclusive artist access to content, and other NFL brands leading up to the game.

General view before the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

Kevin C. Cox | Getty Images

Wherever it lands, the price would be steep, as marketers get a large following when they invest in the Super Bowl. The 2021 game attracted an average of 96.4 million viewers (including streaming) for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against Kansas City Chiefs. NBC last aired the Super Bowl in 2018, drawing over 100 million viewers.

“Nothing reaches half the market in homes and demographics [other] than the Super Bowl, ”said Tony Ponturo, who was vice-president of Anheuser-Busch global sports and entertainment media marketing. “A new, younger tech company that wants to make a splash and has the resources to do it” should bid for the rights if it hits the market, he added.

“Instant brand awareness”

In discussing Super Bowl rights with CNBC on Wednesday, Ponturo used Apples 1984 Super Bowl Advertising as an example of how new tech companies can “rock the boat” using the best game in the NFL.

“If you didn’t know who Apple was in 1984, now you knew who Apple was,” Ponturo said. “It was Steve Jobs way to make a splash. “

Given the game’s global appeal and the inclusion of artists from outside the United States on the halftime show, the sponsor could be from another country, including Germany, where the NFL wants to grow up. When asked about brands that could potentially be suitable, Ponturo mentioned electric car maker Lucid Motors.

“I guess one in 100 automotive customers know who even Lucid is,” Ponturo said. “So if they need to build awareness of their brand and want to make a splash with people who aren’t on Wall Street or auto enthusiasts to find out who they are, I can see a company like this the to do.”

Ponturo called it “instant brand awareness” and, despite the high price tag, “looks like it’s worth it,” he said.

Lucid did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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