After 10 years, Pepsi will no longer be the title sponsor for the NFL’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, the brand confirmed to Billboard today (May 24). The news comes as part of an announcement about PepsiCo extending its long-term partnership with the NFL with new programming, a new Gatorade-specific drink for NFL players that will be made available for consumers in 2023 and a number of unnamed activations planned for the year from the Pepsi brand as well as Frito-Lay and others.
But the ending of Pepsi’s title sponsorship of the Halftime Show is significant. The brand’s first Halftime Show in this decade-long run was headlined by Beyoncé in 2013, after taking over from previous sponsor Bridgestone, and included a run of shows that featured superstars like Bruno Mars (2014), Katy Perry (2015), Coldplay (2016), Lady Gaga (2017), Justin Timberlake (2018) and Maroon 5 (2019). (Pepsi also sponsored the Halftime Show in 2007, with Prince’s iconic performance in the rain.)
In a press release, Pepsi said its decision was part of a “much larger strategic shift to bring unprecedented music and entertainment experiences to fans – where they are now, and where they will be in the future.”
The Halftime Show has been programmed by the NFL in partnership with Jay Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation since its 2020 edition, after Roc and the NFL signed a deal in August 2019 that gave Roc Nation input over major musical performances for the NFL including the Halftime Show, and fueled the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative. Since then, performers at the Halftime Show have included Roc Nation clients Shakira and Jennifer Lopez (2020) with special guests J Balvin and Bad Bunny in 2020; The Weeknd in 2021; and Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar with special guests 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak in 2022.
There is no official word on who will take over the title sponsorship moving forward, with the next iteration scheduled for Feb. 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Sports Business Journal reported in February that PepsiCo would maintain a sponsorship relationship with the NFL but would no longer be the named sponsor for the Halftime Show, noting that brands like Amazon and Verizon were among those most likely to pony up between $40 million to $50 million to take Pepsi’s place. Today’s announcement at least confirms that Pepsi will no longer take the title role.
It’s also possible that this could shift the calculus in terms of who might perform at next year’s edition, depending on who takes over, though Roc Nation’s deal remains in place. The Halftime Show — which in 2022 attracted a global audience of 103 million viewers — can drive big benefits for even the biggest stars. Many halftime headliners announce their tours just following the big game in order to drive their concert ticket sales. And their streaming numbers generally get a healthy bump, too. In just the two days encompassing the halftime show and the following day earlier this year, streams of the songs performed by Dr. Dre and company grew 121% over the two days prior, according to Luminate, with sales growing 775%. For solo performers, the boost can be many times that magnitude, according to a Billboard analysis of performances from the past 13 years.