What just happened? Next year's Super Bowl halftime show will have a new main sponsor. The NFL has announced Apple Music as its new halftime show sponsor, replacing Pepsi which has been the show's sponsor since 2013. Terms of the multi-year partnership were not disclosed although sources familiar with the negotiations said the NFL had been shopping the deal around in the $50 million range.
The deal represents a shift in strategy for Apple as the company rarely sponsors events it does not control. The last time it lent its name to an event was in 2016 to advertise for the Apple Watch.
The Super Bowl halftime show is the most-watched musical performance of the year. More than 120 million people watched the Super Bowl LVI halftime show earlier this year, which featured performances by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Eminem, among others.
Next year's show will be produced by Jay-Z's entertainment company, Roc Nation, but Apple will now have input on the show's direction according to one source. Jay-Z previously owned Tidal, a streaming music service that rivaled Apple Music. In 2021, Jay-Z sold Tidal to Square for $297 million.
The NFL has increasingly looked to strike up deals with tech companies. Last year, it finalized an 11-year, $13 billion deal with Amazon for exclusive rights to Thursday Night games. The first Thursday Night game of the season between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers averaged 15.3 million viewers according to Amazon and Nielsen.
Super Bowl LVII, which will be played on February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona, will mark Apple Music's first year as the show's sponsor. It's unclear how long Apple will serve as the halftime show sponsor.
Last year, Roc Nation announced the halftime lineup in September. If the company follows precedent, a similar announcement for the next show could arrive any day now.
Apple Music launched in mid-2015 and had 98 million subscribers as of this past February. Those who haven't yet tried the service can sign up for a one-month free trial.