- but he won’t be too bothered about it, and here’s why.
For those that didn’t manage to catch The Weeknd’s halftime performance at the Super Bowl on Sunday (7th February), it was quite the spectacle, incorporating elaborate staging, waves of dancers, intricate lighting, and a barrel load of explosive pyrotechnics - pardon the pun! So, it’s no wonder that the production came in at a whopping $7m over budget, that the artist forked-out from his own pocket. A crazy loss one may think, but it’s probably a solid investment for the Canadian superstar.
It may come as a surprise to some of you, that the NFL doesn’t pay artists for the halftime show; instead, they offer the artists a budget of up to $10m (£7.3m) to cover the production costs of the performance. Clearly, The Weeknd felt this wouldn’t suffice for his production, pumping a further $7m (£5.1m) of his own money to cover the cost of his epic vision.
It may appear that the artists are getting the short end of the stick here, but it’s quite the contrary. The NFL sees the arrangement as a “win-win” situation for all parties involved - the artists provide a high calibre professional halftime spectacle for viewers, and in return, they get exposure to around 100 million people worldwide. So, when you look at it like that, it’s not a bad deal at all.
Over the years, several huge stars have taken the same deal including the likes of Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Katy Perry. If so many big names have accepted the terms of the agreement, they must see some value in the opportunity.
Following his performance at the Super Bowl in 2018, Justin Timberlake reported a 534% increase in music sales, while J-Lo’s social media following grew by over 2 million in the week that followed her 2020 co-headline Super Bowl performance with Shakira. It was also reported in Forbes that Maroon 5’s per-city gross on tour rocketed from $200,000 (£145,000) to $1.7m (£1.2m) after the band’s performance at the Super Bowl in 2019, as reported by The independent.
So, with the recent announcement of a full year of rescheduled shows in 2022 for the Weeknd’s After Hours tour, it’s starting to look like the $7m excess was a calculated decision made by The Weeknd and his team. Only time will tell how positive the return on investment will be.
If you didn't manage to catch the show or if you just fancy watching it again, you can see the full performance on YouTube. The performance included shortened renditions of his hit tracks, such as “Starboy”, “The Hills”, “Can’t Feel My Face”, “I Feel It Coming”, “Save Your Tears”, and of course “Blinding Lights”
By Darren Hay