Apple Scores NFL Deal as Super Bowl Halftime Show Sponsor

The multiyear deal will allow Apple to showcase artists available on its music-streaming service.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
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Eminem, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg performing onstage in the halftime show of Super Bowl LVI

Eminem, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg perform during the halftime show of Super Bowl LVI in February.

Getty Images

The National Football League announced late Thursday that Apple will be the new sponsor of its Super Bowl halftime show, replacing Pepsi in the coveted annual extravaganza that drew more than 100 million viewers earlier this year.

"We are proud to welcome Apple Music to the NFL family as our new partner for the iconic Super Bowl Halftime Show," Nana-Yaw Asamoah, senior vice president of partner strategy for the NFL, said in a statement.

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Each year, the halftime show features performances by some of the recording industry's hottest artists. Past halftime shows have included performances by artists such as Lady Gaga, Dr. Dre, U2, Bruno Mars and Coldplay.

Apple's multiyear agreement with the NFL gives it an opportunity to promote its music streaming service Apple Music to what is typically the largest TV audience each year. Terms of the deal weren't revealed, but the NFL said fans will see previews over the coming months on Apple's TikTok, Instagram and Twitter accounts of what can be expected at the 2023 halftime show.

On Friday, the official Apple Music twitter account tweeted out, "See you in February. #SBLVII."

The deal could cast a greater spotlight on Apple Music, which appears to still be a distant second to Spotify, which reported having 188 million paying members in the second quarter. Apple Music, which doesn't routinely disclose its paid membership, last reported in June 2019 that it had 60 million members, though it has likely grown in the intervening years.

Pepsi had previously been the sponsor of the halftime show, but the soft drink and snack giant announced in May it would end its 10-year sponsorship of the deal. Prior to that announcement, CNBC reported that the NFL was shopping around for a new sponsor for the rights.

Pepsi's deal, struck in 2012, was worth $2 billion over 10 years, according to CNBC. The NFL was said to be looking for $50 million per year from a new halftime sponsor, with an increased focus on streaming and digital platform advertising.

Apple is also among the more prominent media names rumored to be jockeying for NFL Sunday Ticket, one of the US sports world's most valuable assets. Currently with DirecTV, the package allows fans to watch or stream every out-of-market NFL game, every Sunday, starting at around $300 for the season.

As the NFL has recently struck new broadcast deals with the likes of NBC, CBS, Fox, Amazon and Disney, the value of Sunday Ticket has come in to question. The satellite TV provider, which is in the final year of its contract with the NFL, pays the league more than $1.5 billion per year, but some reports state that the league is looking for up to $2.5 billion annually in its next deal. 

Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.