Apple Music will sponsor next February’s Super Bowl halftime show, replacing long-time sponsor Pepsi. In a press release, the NFL says over 120 million people watched the Super Bowl LVI halftime show in February this year, which featured performances from Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar. The New York Times reports that the NFL had been shopping the sponsorship deal around for around $50 million, though exact terms of the finalized deal were not made public.
The deal comes as Apple and other streaming service operators are increasingly looking to sports as a source of growth. Apple has already inked deals to broadcast Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer games on Apple TV Plus, while rival Amazon has signed a deal with the NFL to broadcast Thursday Night Football.
Live sports, and American Football in particular, are considered one of TVs biggest draws. Sports Business Journal reports that 95 of the top 100 most watched programs of 2021 were sports telecasts, and 75 of those were NFL games.
As well as agreeing to sponsor the Super Bowl’s halftime show, Apple is also reportedly in talks with the NFL for the rights to a package of Sunday football games, according to the NYT. The league has apparently held talks with Google, Amazon, and ESPN to broadcast the games, but discussions with Apple are thought to be in their most advanced stages. The NFL is reportedly asking $2.5 billion for the package, a steep increase over the roughly $1.5 billion its current NFL Sunday Ticket deal with DirecTV is thought to be worth.
Apple rarely sponsors events outside of its control, though it has happened in the past. In 2016 the company sponsored the Met Gala as it attempted to promote the Apple Watch as a fashion accessory. Pepsi had been the Super Bowl halftime show’s sponsor since 2013, when it launched a ten-year sponsorship of the performance. The NFL’s press release claims that the annual halftime show is “the most-watched musical performance of the year.” Though with just 120 million viewers this year its viewership was dwarfed by the 161 million people around the world who tuned in to watch the Eurovision Song Contest in May.
Super Bowl LVII is scheduled to take place on February 12th, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. Expect plenty of “exclusive details and sneak peeks” about the show to be announced over the coming months via Apple Music’s social channels on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter.