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NFL and Apple strike ‘US$50m a year’ Super Bowl halftime show sponsorship deal

Tech giant takes over from Pepsi as new partner of showpiece event.

23 September 2022 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Apple Music set to sponsor halftime show for next five years
  • NFL had been looking to bring in a tech or media company
  • Apple has already bid for NFL Sunday Ticket rights

The National Football League (NFL) has announced technology giant Apple as the new sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show.

The iPhone manufacturer will pay nearly US$50 million annually over a five-year span, according to Sportico, with the event being billed as the ‘Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show’.

The deal will kick in with Super Bowl LVII on 12th February 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. No halftime act has been announced so far, but the NFL said the multi-year agreement will bring Apple’s ‘creativity and expertise to the most-watched musical performance of the year’. Further details and sneak peeks will drop in the coming months.

More than 120 million viewers in the US watched the Super Bowl LVI halftime show live on 13th February, according to the NFL.

The league took the Super Bowl halftime show sponsorship rights to market earlier this year and had been hoping to attract conglomerates or big technology firms. NFL broadcaster Amazon and incumbent sponsor Verizon were linked with a deal.

Apple will take over sponsorship from Pepsi, which had sponsored the halftime show at the NFL’s showpiece event for the last ten years, having replaced Bridgestone. In May, the drinks and snack giant renewed its partnership with the league, minus the Super Bowl halftime show.

“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,” said Nana-Yaw Asamoah, senior vice president of partner strategy for the NFL.

Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, added: “Music and sports hold a special place in our hearts, so we’re very excited Apple Music will be part of music and football’s biggest stage.

“We’re looking forward to even more epic performances next year and beyond with the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show.”

SportsPro says…

The reported US$50 million annual fee the NFL is pocketing fits with what the league has been seeking for this inventory. Given the Super Bowl halftime show went to market as a tech and content play, it makes sense a brand like Apple has got involved.

The deal also further immerses the California-headquartered company into US sport, adding to broadcast tie-ups with the likes of Major League Baseball (MLB) and Major League Soccer (MLS).

In addition, Apple’s latest sports outlay comes as the NFL continues to look for a buyer for its domestic out-of-market Sunday Ticket package. Apple, as well as Amazon and Disney, have all reportedly made offers.

Even if Apple doesn’t land those rights, the company is set to go on a hiring spree to boost its sports content drive. At the end of August, the firm had 60 sports-related vacancies being advertised.

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