Apple Music sponsors Super Bowl Halftime Show as services spotlight

Diving Brief:

  • An announcement from the league said Apple Music is taking over sponsorship of the Super Bowl Halftime Show in a new multi-year agreement with the NFL. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although previous reports indicated that the league was seeking rights up to $50 million.
  • Super Bowl LVII, set for February 12, will be the first time the music streaming service has served as a sponsor of a mid-game extravaganza. Pepsi has held the rights over the past decade, but walked away from the Halftime Show in May while remaining a partner in the NFL.
  • In the months leading up to the event, Apple Music will share teasers and exclusive content through the AppleMusic pages on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter. While linear TV viewership in general is declining, the Super Bowl remains the juggernaut over ratings, with the Halftime show last winter attracting more than 120 million live viewers.

Diving Insight:

Apple is making a bolder play about its music streaming offerings while incorporating itself into the sports arena with the Super Bowl Halftime Show. The agreement is notable because Apple doesn’t often take advantage of sponsorships as a way to market its products, although the Super Bowl is a special case, standing as one of the last guaranteed audience grabs in the declining TV space.

As much as football fans join the championship game to play on the pitch, many are watching to see commercials and mid-game performances featuring some of today’s biggest stars. This February’s Halftime Show—the final as a Pepsi sponsor—is a case in point: The party united Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent for the first time and engaged legions of viewers. . She has also received three Creative Emmy Awards.

The Halftime Show deal talks about how services beyond core Apple hardware products like the iPhone are becoming more important drivers of growth, as smartphone adoption reaches saturation and consumers are less likely to upgrade to the latest models. The NFL announcement marked the move as the next stage in Apple’s relationship with music, an industry previously shaken by the introduction of the iPod and iTunes, as Apple Music was the broadcast-oriented evolution of the digital music market.

Apple Music operates in a competitive category that includes Spotify, which is the most popular platform globally with 188 million subscribers. The Halftime Show is an opportunity to promote Apple Music to a broader consumer base and create a stronger connection between the service and music culture. Apple Music has a catalog of over 90 million songs and franchises dedicated to audiophiles like immersive spatial audio.

Apple is also negotiating a streaming package around the NFL Sunday Ticket to boost video streaming on Apple TV+, but has turned down a league price, The New York Times reports. The league is asking for $2.5 billion, much more than the current rights holder, DirectTV, is paying.

Apple’s insurance of professional football coverage would put it on a more level playing field with rival Amazon, which has begun exclusively broadcasting “Friday Night Football” this season. The Halftime show’s sponsorship was the result of Apple’s desire to strengthen its relationship with the NFL, according to The Times.

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