We all sat and watched Katy Perry take the field on Super Bowl Sunday atop a giant lion, and then saw her fly across the sky in her own personal firework chariot. You’ve got to figure that she must have gotten paid big bucks for doing this, right?
No. Turns out that pop star didn’t get paid at all for doing the big game, and that’s not unusual.
No one gets paid for it, and the NFL typically only covers expenses and production costs. Still the chosen artists decide to do the Super Bowl not for the cash, but for the exposure. When else can you get over 111 million eyeballs trained specifically on you?
Take last year’s artist, Bruno Mars. His sales jumped 164% after his appearance. That’s amazing publicity you just can’t turn down.
And even the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who performed one song alongside Mars (and dealt with some controversy surrounding the lack of live instruments) saw a 400% jump in sales on their greatest hits album.
Even though Perry is a big star already, and made $40 million last year and is in the midst of a mega concert tour right now, it’s safe to say her album sales will leap in the next week as people can’t get “California Gurls” with its dancing sharks out of their heads.
But there is a larger controversy. The NFL was trying to get acts not only to perform for free, but also attempting to get them to pay for the opportunity to play at the big game.
Rhianna, Coldplay and Perry were all in the running for this year’s gig, and all asked to give a portion of the revenue from their upcoming tours for their opportunity to perform on this giant stage. The thinking being that the exposure boosts ticket sales, though that’s a harder metric to calculate than album sales.
All acts refused this, and the NFL still opted to go with Perry for the big game, reverting to its standard operating procedure.
Will the league try this again next year, approaching artists who would be willing to pay? Will that diminish the quality of the half-time show, lead to acts with less universal appeal? Would it just turn the entire show into one big ad? We’ll have to wait and see.