How Much Do Super Bowl Halftime Performers Make?

How Much Do Super Bowl Halftime Performers Make

With stars like Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Jennifer Lopez, and in 2023, a fresh-out-of-retirement Rihanna headlining, one would assume Super Bowl Halftime Performers make a decent sum for their efforts. You may be surprised to hear that they are not raking in the big bucks. Artists are paid $0 for their appearances, and reportedly receive a fraction of the sum that they typically would for an event of this scale. So, with no price tag, what incentivizes our favorite A-listers to participate? What makes the Super Bowl halftime show the most sought-after gig on television?


While performers don’t receive an appearance fee, their shows are certainly well-funded. The NFL covers all expenses associated with putting on the performance and accommodates extravagant staging, lighting, and costume needs to help bring the artist’s vision to life. The performance typically lasts 13 minutes and usually runs about $1 million a minute. Artists have a decent amount of creative liberty and all the budget to make it happen, delivering us the flashy spectacles the halftime show has become known for.

The most expensive show thus far was that of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J Blige, and Kendrick Lamar in 2022, which ran an estimated $20 million, $7 million of which Dr. Dre contributed himself. The Weeknd did the same in 2021, contributing $7 million to his $17 million dollar budget. The fact that celebrities readily pay more out-of-pocket is a testament to the fact that their performance is viewed as a career investment. Still, plenty of performers, like Prince, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce, have stayed within the NFL’s extensive budget and put on powerful performances without paying a penny out-of-pocket.


The Super Bowl halftime show has a long history of hosting music’s most acclaimed stars. Aside from the creative liberty and access to millions of viewers, to be included in the Grammy-studded cohort that has performed at the Super Bowl over the years is a huge honor. To be asked to perform at the halftime show indicates an artist’s status and cultural relevance, and offers a worldwide stage to share their music.

The halftime show has been a staple of the Super Bowl since its inception in 1967, but historically was played by marching bands. In 1993, the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, headlined and began the tradition of popular musicians taking the show. With names like MJ, Beyoncé, Madonna, Prince, and The Rolling Stones lending their credibility, it's clear why the halftime show is one of the most coveted performance opportunities.


While the spectacle, status, and creative freedom afforded by Super Bowl performances are incentivizing on their own, there is a more financially-tangible reason for global superstars to participate, and that is exposure. Particularly in recent years, there is a massive, quantifiable payoff that artists experience after performing, as streams and sales skyrocket to new heights. Just like airtime for commercials sells for exorbitant amounts, performers recognize how valuable Super Bowl publicity is.

In 2022, 117 million viewers tuned in for the halftime show, with Katy Perry still holding the record for viewership with 118.5 million viewers in 2015. A platform of that size is invaluable, and even without a sizable paycheck from the performance, artists are certainly reaping the rewards. After their 2020 collaboration, Shakira and J-Lo saw a combined 565% percent spike in streaming on Spotify. Streaming and album sales are known to skyrocket after each show, and performers recognize the Super Bowl as a lucrative opportunity to showcase their work and see a huge return from the publicity.


Who had the most expensive Super Bowl Performance?

The most expensive Super Bowl performance to date is that of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J Blige, and Kendrick Lamar in 2022. The epic collaboration cost an estimated $20 million, with Dr. Dre contributing $7 million of his own money to help bring their vision to life. The second most expensive thus far was The Weeknd in 2021, who also contributed $7 million of his personal funds to put on a $17 million performance.