The NFL’s Super Bowl “Weeknd” Blurs $16 Billion Commerce & Culture Line

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By CultureBanx Team

  • The Weeknd has been tapped to play the Super Bowl LV Halftime Show
  • In 2019, The NFL made nearly $16 billion revenue

R&B crossover sensation The Weeknd has been tapped to play the Super Bowl LV Halftime Show. His performance will be the second under the league’s partnership between the NFL and entertainment company Roc Nation, which was founded by Jay-Z. However, the line of culture and commerce is still very blurred by putting a price tag on oppression. The NFL was nearly a $16 billion revenue generating enterprise in 2019, even after four years of numerous public relations losses surrounding the Colin Kaepernick led kneeling controversy, much at the behest of the rapper and its latest Super Bowl act.

Why This Matters: After this deal between Roc Nation was first announced in 2019, many were left wondering if Jay-Z was just a glorified halftime playlist curator, or is this going to actually move the needle on social justice, to which the NFL had already committed $89 million dollars to. Not to mention the New York Times noted selecting The Weeknd is in line with the “N.F.L.’s recent attempts to attract a wider audience by pivoting from classic rock acts dominated by white musicians to artists with large social media followings who are popular with younger fans and people of color.”

The Weeknd is in line with the N.F.L.’s recent attempts to attract a wider audience by pivoting from classic rock acts dominated by white musicians to artists with large social media followings who are popular with younger fans and people of color.

Initially, both parties billed this partnership as a progressive step to carry on the campaign that got former NFL quarterback Kaepernick kicked out of the league. It seems like nothing more than a money grab for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company on one side, and CultureBanx noted a failed public-relations coup for the NFL on the other side. The financial arrangements for the deal have not been made public. It’s important to recall Kaepernick received less than $10 million to settle his grievances with the league last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Unlike the NFL, The Weeknd has publicly supported Kaepernick. Specifically, following George Floyd’s killing, he donated $200,000 to Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative, showing receipts to his 2.5 million Instagram followers. This begs the question of why he would participate in anything the NFL is doing.

What’s Next: The 2019 Super Bowl game was seen by 100.7 million viewers, the smallest audience in a decade, down 3% from 2018, according to Nielsen. The TV audience for what is traditionally the most-watched television event of the year in the U.S. has been dwindling since its 2015 peak of 114.4 million, which is just before Kaepernick took a knee. Overall, the league’s TV viewership in 2018 was up around 5% from the prior year. Super Bowl LV will be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. Will you be tuning into the halftime show?

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CultureBanx Team

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