During a regulation NFL game there is a 15 minute break between the 2nd and 3rd quarters. This halftime break was originally instituted so the participants of the game could catch their breath and re-energize. During the Super Bowl, halftime lasts for a minimum of 30 minutes. Not only is that plenty of time for a player to catch his breath, that could allow him an opportunity to take a nap and check some emails. The mid-game break is actually long enough that coaches usually alter practices leading up to the big game in order to prepare their players for dealing with the extended down time. Despite this, there has never been a serious motion to shorten the length of the break. On the contrary, every few years halftime will run a little long to better accommodate the length of more extravagant halftime shows.
This presents an interesting phenomenon. The Super Bowl, the game that decides who the best team is in the highest level of the most popular sport in America, is consistently interrupted for at least 15 minutes more than is necessary so an assortment of washed up and unknown artists can perform for a crowd that has paid at least double the average monthly income for a ticket to the game. It is widely known that companies spend millions of dollars for a chance to slip a commercial in between the biggest football game of the year, but this event has become so large that the game itself is being postponed in order to make room for the event that surrounds it. That’s the kind of marketing that is normally reserved for religious holidays and national celebrations.
So what makes the Super Bowl half-time show so special? It is the second most anticipated part of the event, besides of course, who wins the championship. The hype of who is performing is always a boost for the performers publicity, but what if Madonna blows it like the Black Eyed Peas did last year? What will that do to her brand as being Madonna, the Queen of pop? There is a lot at stake when involving yourself in the biggest event of the year. Let’s just hope there are no wardrobe malfunctions or fumbled lyrics this year.
The NFL is a multi billion dollar brand in it of itself. NFL only reaps the benefits of the hype that builds itself practically for free by hiring a pop artist for the halftime show. By hiring a pop artist the NFL can guarantee not only that they will maintain the male audience by the possibility of a wardrobe malfunction but also the female audience who could care less about football. By hiring “washed up” pop stars they can connect with he older generations and also allow the “washed up” celebrity to revamp their brand image. There is always the chance that the halftime show artists will mess up their lyrics or stumble around on stage like a drunk whale. This only adds to the fun of the Superbowl. Drinking games and bets have been created around the countless possibilities the 30 minute half time show has to offer. While the NFL may be taking away the attention from the actual sport of football they are adding more to their brand by creating more hype and a larger audience. Not to sound sacrilegious but the Superbowl is like a holiday in the sports world and therefore has traditions like commercials and a halftime show. Without this the Superbowl would not be what it is today.
Amy, first off, thank you for reading and thanks for the thoughtful reply. I find it interesting that you mentioned the NFL’s brand and how it may benefit from the hype surrounding this game. I’m curious as to how much this really helps their brand. If 150 million people watch the Super Bowl but only half are invested in the game then how much is this event bringing to the table for the NFL? I concede that the Super Bowl is a huge event that makes a lot of money for a lot of organizations, but if most viewers don’t watch a single other football game all year isn’t this establishing a situation where the Super Bowl has no relation to the NFL other than the two teams that run around between all those funny commercials?
As a huge football fan for both the NCAA and the NFL, I have to say the Super Bowl is one of my least favorite games to watch the entire season unless my team is playing in it. While watching Madonna at halftime it took all my strength not to turn the tv off but seeing as there were twenty other people watching I didn’t think it would go over well. There is absolutely no point to making half time longer than fifteen minutes and as much as I don’t understand it, I feel like everyone looks forward to half time to see a bad performance. It is a spectacle; half the time the artists are lip syncing and if they are actually singing they sound horrible. How terrible is it that the best part of last night’s performance was the guy bouncing up and down on a slack line, I mean seriously? Artists know that they don’t have to give a killer performance they just have to give the people something to talk about because as they say any press is good press. Just by being talked about whether for good reasons or bad, draws people into their brand. I can only imagine how many people searched Madonna half time show on Google or Youtube, it was probably searched more times that Wes Welker drops ball, what does that say about where people’s interests lie?
I really agree with what you said about how the halftime show is in some ways almost as important as the game itself. I know a few people who only watch the super bowl so that they can see the commercials and the half time show. I would also agree that doing poor job during the half time show can seriously affect a singer’s brand. A lot of people lost respect for the Black Eyed Peas after what happened during the half time show last year. I also agree with what you said about how marketing during the Super Bowl is becoming more important that the game itself.
I agree with the fact that the Super Bowl is losing it’s actual meaning by focusing on halftime shows and giving publicity to wealthy companies which has deteriorated my interest to the actual event. I have always been a sports fan, specifically football, so I am very unsatisfied with the event because the attention is being transferred to marketing to the public. Although I disagree with with how the Super Bowl is handled I understand why it is occurring. We live in a consumer based environment and companies rely on profit to be successful. After learning how much it costs for 30 seconds of airtime during Super Bowl commercials and that companies are actually willing to pay the price to advertise it is hard to blame anyone because of the ridiculous amount of money being made.
As an avid football fan, and more importantly a New York Giants fan, this year I could honestly have cared less about the half-time show. It can hardly be called a performance anymore, more of a mockery, if you ask me, because the majority are lip-syncing anyway. As for the commercials, I really didn’t care for them either. Plus, I had seen a handful of them before they even aired anyway. Although, I agree with all the hype for the commercials and half time show taking away from the actual game itself (and that is sad), this year’s Super Bowl broke the record for amount of viewers. That is good for NFL, companies with commercial spots, and those “lucky” enough to be featured in the half-time show, and who can blame them for wanting to make more money. Unfortunately, it is the day and age in which we live in.
It blows me away every year to hear the amount that companies will spend for a commercial during the super bowl. As a true sports fan I personally dislike the amount of emphasis taken away from the actual game. Madonna has created a brand for herself by performing countless concerts, so one more doesn’t excite me. The game however, is exciting and unpredictable and only happens once a year and it is amazing how much more advertising is done for a bag of chips or a car than is done for the actual football game.