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The Super Bowl Might Not Be Paying Usher, But Here’s How He Might Make Millions from His Halftime Show

According to the Pew Research Center football is “America’s Sport,” millions of people tune in to watch hundreds of NFL athletes compete during the season.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 01: Usher attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

The Super Bowl serves as the pinnacle of the NFL season, akin to its prom night, drawing in over a hundred million viewers. However, the halftime show garners even more attention, as audiences eagerly anticipate not only the most dynamic commercials produced by the world’s biggest brands but also performances from some of the music industry’s most prominent and talented stars.

This year’s Super Bowl LVIII will be no exception. The NFL has booked R&B crooner Usher Raymond IV to take the stage and he promises to perform many of his hits that have topped the charts over the past three decades in the 13 minutes allotted to him between halves. Believe it or not, he will not be getting his typical $1 million to $1.5 million booking fee.

No star does.

No Paychecks For Stars

There is an NFL policy that it does not pay (ever) for the halftime performance, according to NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter, who said in an interview with Forbes, “We do not pay the artists. We cover expenses and production costs.” 

The policy mandates that the NFL assumes responsibility for covering all expenses related to the halftime show, encompassing travel expenditures for the performers. They also receive a daily rate of $1,000 based on a minimum wage union scale.

This does not mean that no one gets paid in other ways. With so many eyeballs on the show, artists are compensated in ways that often exceed what they might earn through a standard booking fee. Their payoffs are often immediate.

Big Benefits for 13 Minutes of Singing and Dancing

Following her 2017 performance, Billboard reported, Lady Gaga experienced a remarkable surge of 1000 percent in sales of her digital catalog. Similarly, after Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance in 2018, his music sales soared by 534 percent on the same day.

Maroon 5 experienced a substantial increase in sales, with a surge of 488 percent following their performance in 2019, sources confirm.

When she collaborated with Jennifer Lopez in 2020, Shakira gained over two million new followers on social media, while also witnessing a notable 230 percent increase in Spotify streams.

Following his performance in 2022, Dr. Dre experienced a significant surge in album sales, with an increase of 183 percent, along with a 105 percent rise in on-demand streams. Likewise, Mary J. Blige’s album sales surged by an astounding 999 percent following her performance during the epic Dr. Dre set that also featured Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, and 50 Cent, according to Forbes.

The next year was even bigger. According to Nielsen, around 40 percent of households tuned in to watch the 2023 Super Bowl, which featured Rihanna in the halftime show.

The “Diamonds” singer’s halftime performance drew an average of 118.7 million viewers, marking a 15 percent increase from the 103.4 million average audience for the 2022 halftime show. She also used the time to showcase her makeup products.

How Can Usher Win Big?

Team Usher seems to be aware of the earning potential.

The “My Way” recording artist was coming off of one of the most successful residencies in Las Vegas in years. Recognizing the opportunity, he sees his upcoming performance as an ideal platform to launch his new album, “Coming Home,” which was released the Friday before the big game. Additionally, he anticipates significant earnings from his upcoming Past Present Future tour.

The 24-date tour commences on Aug. 20 in Washington, D.C., concluding on Oct. 29 in Chicago. Ticket prices range from $43.50 to $249.50 for standard tickets before fees, with VIP standing pit tickets priced at $694.50. Citicard holders and Verizon subscribers can purchase early, until the Super Bowl. General public ticket sales start the following day.

Given the precedent of his Las Vegas residency, where ticket prices initially ranged from $162 to $217 and later spiked up to $1000, fans should anticipate possible price increases.

With new music and a tour standing to benefit from his performance, Usher is not about to leave any money on the floor. Usher has released a limited-edition apparel line ahead of his Super Bowl halftime performance.

The new merch is a six-piece collection done in collaboration with the NFL and sportswear brand Mitchell & Ness, designed by the eight-time Grammy winner and will be priced from $55 to $160.

Time will tell just how impactful the performance will be for the “You Remind Me” singer and whether it will it make him say “Burn” or say “Yeah!”

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