The Super Bowl Doesn’t Pay Halftime Performers?

02/03/2010 11:24 AM |

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There’s a good piece running over at the Times today, about the very big business of the Super Bowl half-time show, which, this year, will feature a 12-minute performance by The Who. Writer Ken Belson speculates about the kind of impact the performance will have on sales of the band’s new Greatest Hits collection, citing a notable spike in sales for Tom Petty when he performed at the Super Bowl two years ago.

The halftime show, as well as most other things involving the NFL these days, is sponsored by Bridgestone, in what one assumes is a very, very lucrative deal. And yet the benefits of a band playing it are so great that they apparently agree to do it for free. “The N.F.L. does not pay an appearance fee,” writes Belson, “though it does cover all of the expenses for the band and its often ample entourage of several dozen stagehands, family and friends.” This strikes me as completely insane: if you’d told me that Roger Daltrey demands an appearance fee every time he walks into a restaurant, I wouldn’t be surprised.