Apple Music will sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show next February, replacing longtime sponsor Pepsi. In a press release, the NFL says more than 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 purchased the sponsorship deal for approximately $50 million, although the exact terms of the finalized deal were not made public.
The deal comes as Apple and other streaming service operators increasingly look to sports as a source of growth. Apple has already signed deals to show Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer games on Apple TV Plus, while rival Amazon has signed a deal with the NFL to show Thursday Night Football.
Live sports, and American football in particular, are considered one of the biggest draws of television. Sports Business Journal reports that 95 of the 100 most watched programs in 2021 were sports broadcasts, and 75 of them were NFL games.
— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) September 23, 2022
In addition to agreeing to sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show, Apple is also reportedly in talks with the NFL for the rights to a set of Sunday football games, according to the NYT. The league has apparently held talks with Google, Amazon and ESPN to broadcast the games, but talks with Apple are believed to be at their most advanced stage. The NFL is reportedly asking $2.5 billion for the package, a steep increase from the roughly $1.5 billion its current NFL Sunday Ticket deal with DirecTV is worth.
Apple rarely sponsors events beyond its control, although this has happened in the past. In 2016, the company sponsored the Met Gala as it tried to promote the Apple Watch as a fashion accessory. Pepsi had been the sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show since 2013, when it launched a ten-year sponsorship of the performance. The NFL’s press release claims the annual halftime show is “the most-watched musical performance of the year.” Although with just 120 million viewers this year, its viewership was dwarfed by the 161 million people worldwide who tuned in to watch the Eurovision Song Contest in May.
Super Bowl LVII is scheduled to take place on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. Expect many “exclusive details and previews” about the show to be announced over the coming months via Apple Music’s social channels on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.