The Super Bowl Halftime Show, with its bells, whistles, fireworks and awkwardly dancing sharks, is no inexpensive affair. Everything about the event seems to ooze dollar signs -- even Super Bowl rings are worth upwards of $50,000 when pawned for hard cash -- so it's natural to assume that Justin Timberlake will be awarded a princely sum for his halftime performance at Super Bowl LII this Sunday evening.
Your assumptions, however, are likely totally wrong. Timberlake, a man who's known to gross ludicrous piles of crash through ticket sales alone, will receive zero dollars for his halftime show performance. If you're a diehard JT acolyte, don't fret, because this isn't the work of some anti-Timberlake conspiracy hatched by the NFL's top brass: It's actually the NFL's policy to not pay halftime artists.
It might seem shocking, but due to the hefty production costs of coordinating the extravaganza, the league makes A-list talent take to the stage pro-bono. Some estimates put the halftime show costs at $10 million, which means the NFL is presumably -- and ironically -- too cash-strapped to pay a headlining performer.
“We do not pay the artists,” an NFL spokesperson explained to Forbes last year. “We cover expenses and production costs.”
So what's the incentive for halftime performers? The show basically doubles as a massive commercial to promote the artist. 114.4 million people watched the game on NBC in 2015. That's a surefire way to promote Timberlake's new album, Man of the Woods, or just remind the world that he still exists before we're all distracted by "Dilly Dilly" chants again.
As Forbes reported on Friday:
"Halftime show stars in recent years have seen double- and triple-digit percentage spikes in the consumption of their music in the days following the Super Bowl. Timberlake has set himself up to take the utmost advantage of that, with new album Man of the Woods debuting today, and his upcoming tour of the same name kicking off in March."
To put this in perspective, at Timberlake's last Super Bowl show in 2004, the performer managed to inadvertently give birth to YouTube when he caused Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction." What came to be known as "Nipplegate" was the internet age's first melodrama, a viral story that unfolded on computer screens as much as any network news chyron. You'd be lying if you said you don't remember it.
So expect Timberlake to perform with aplomb -- free of scandal, hopefully -- regardless of the NFL not forking over any cash in return.