NFL Announces Pepsi’s Super Bowl Halftime Show Replacement Sponsor

by Suzanne Halliburton

Apple Music now will be the sponsor of the always spectacular Super Bowl halftime show, taking over from Pepsi.

The announcement came early Friday morning. And almost immediately, rumors started about whether Taylor Swift would be playing the most-watched show of the year now that Apple has taken over Super Bowl halftime. After all, since she enjoyed an endorsement deal from Coke, she probably never could perform at a Pepsi event, right? Variety says it’s a done deal.

But Apple officials weren’t talking specifics in making the announcement.

“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,” Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, said in a statement issued through the NFL.

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

Apple Music also tweeted about their Super Bowl halftime news. “See you in February” shared the Apple social media account.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira performed at the Super Bowl in Miami in 2020, weeks before Covid shut down the world. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Apple is making more of a push into pro football than just an annual halftime event. The company also wants the rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket. This package allows fans to view any game on the NFL schedule, no matter the market where they live. The NFL’s deal with DirecTV expires at the end of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said this summer that a streaming service likely would land the rights.

“I clearly believe we will be moving to a streaming service,” Goodell said in an interview with CNBC. 

Goodell said that old school linear “has worked very well” for the NFL. “But we really believe that these new platforms give us the ability to innovate beyond where we are today for our customers and especially younger demos.”

Amazon Prime picked up the exclusive rights to stream 15 Thursday Night Football games for this fall. Ratings released this week revealed that more than 15 million people watched the first Amazon Prime game. Meanwhile, the audience demo skewed six years younger than the fans who watch NFL on network or cable television. Amazon also is believed to be trying to land the Sunday Ticket rights. ESPN could be vying, too.

(Talk about big names. Lady Gaga performed at halftime at NRG Stadium in February, 2017. (Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

So let’s circle back to Apple Music and its new Super Bowl halftime deal. Terms of the deal were not revealed, although analysts estimated that the NFL probably would receive $50 million annually from the rights. It makes all sorts of business sense for Apple Music to be involved with the halftime show. After all, this is the company that gave the world the iPod in 2001.

More than 120 million fans watched this year’s Super Bowl. It was a special event, organized to attract the Gen X crowd. It featured some of the biggest names of 1990s-era hip hop. Performers included Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and 50 Cent. Rapper Kendrick Lamar also joined the show.