Tonight, Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers will join the ranks of Madonna, Beyoncé, U2, and Paul McCartney as part of an exclusive list of musicians who have performed during the Super Bowl halftime show.
“We just got that phone call and they started scoping me out,” 28-year-old “Grenade” singer Mars told Forbes of how he got the coveted gig. “They were coming to my shows and they popped the question. It’s one of those things where I feel like it’s early on in my career, but … it’s definitely something on a bucket list. It’s the biggest stage ever. It’s something you’re not gonna say no to.”
It’s not something a musician says no to, despite not getting paid.
“We do not pay,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told Forbes last year. “We cover all expenses associated with the performance.”
The accompanying expenses, however, can add up.
Travel, lodging, setup, fees for backup dancers and musicians, pyrotechnics, glam squads, etc., can all balloon to millions of dollars.
But Mars’ big payment will come in the form of exposure.
“He’ll be playing what amounts to a 12-minute commercial for himself, which should boost sales for concert tickets, albums and merchandise,” reports Forbes, who confirmed Mars, like his predecessors, will not be paid for this year’s Super Bowl. “For context, a 30-second ad costs about $US4 million this year.”
Marc Ganis, president of the consultancy Sportscorp, Ltd., further explains, “This is the kind of exposure that entertainers would give their right arm for … they could do 20 Leno and Letterman appearances and still not reach that [kind of] audience.”
But after Beyoncé’s mindblowing Destiny’s Child reunion performance during last year’s Super Bowl halftime show, why did the NFL choose Mars, a relative newbie?
“One of the answers is there aren’t that many acts like that,” says Ganis. “And the NFL has been going through most of them. You don’t want to recycle. If you’re going to look outside that limited sphere, Bruno Mars is a pretty good selection.”
The NFL also trusts that Mars won’t have any wardrobe malfunctions.
Ganis explains that Mars’ performance at the 2011 NBA All-Star Game pre-show “earned him a reputation in the sports world as a reliable entertainer, something that’s crucial to the NFL after halftime mishaps like Janet Jackson’s infamous ‘Nipplegate’ incident” in 2004.
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