Two groups of people are starting to gather as Super Bowl Sunday draws closer and closer: those watching for the game and those watching for Rihanna. The singer of "Wild Thoughts" is making her first appearance in five years, and choosing the Super Bowl halftime performance for her big comeback might be her coolest move yet.
Many may wonder how much money the NFL has to pay for the greatest musicians in pop to make an appearance at the football game. From Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen to U2 and Michael Jackson, the greatest of the great have taken to the iconic stage in the past.
Why are Super Bowl performers paid?
The Super Bowl is certainly a popular concert venue for any artist, and in a way they are paid for it through free publicity, which results in an increase in streams, album sales, and follower counts following the big night. Dr. Dre and Eminem are two decades old, and Shakira is a testament to this.
Unlikely enough, this wasn't always the case.
If we go back to the first big name to ever take the Super Bowl halftime stage — none other than the King of Pop, Michael Jackson — the story would be different. The greatest night in football was once even struggling to beat a sketch comedy series during halftime. Thus, the Super Bowl halftime show as we know it today.
The "Thriller" singer wanted to be paid, and asked the NFL for a $1 million fee. Eventually, the NFL and its sponsors agreed to offer free advertising space to promote Jackson's Heal the World Foundation, and would donate $100,000 to it. The transaction was beneficial to both parties, with the superstar's performance doing its job of not only retaining, but increasing viewership for the half-time and the second half of the game.
Both The Weeknd and Dr. Dre paid around $7 million to ensure that the production of their set was up to their standards, according to Forbes. However, the NFL has announced that it will cover all expenses related to Rihanna's show this year.
Rihanna will not be paid to perform at the Super Bowl on Sunday, but she will certainly not be shelling out money either. As a comeback stage to relaunch the star's music career, it's probably the best platform she could ask for.