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Stunning amount The Weeknd will make from Super Bowl show

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
The Weeknd performs during the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
The Weeknd performs during the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest television events of the year: if you’re not watching the sport, you’re there for the ads. And if you’re not there for the ads, you’re there for the half-time show.

This year, The Weeknd, or Canadian singer Abel Tesfaye, was the headlining act.

But despite the NFL event drawing in 99.9 million viewers in 2020, The Weeknd won’t make a cent from the show.

In fact, the “Blinding Lights” singer will lose money as he’s contributing US$7 million (AU$9 million) to the show’s production budget.

The singer had previously told Billboard that he wanted his show to be spectacular for home viewers, in a year dominated by COVID-19.

“We’ve been really focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Super Bowl,” he said.

The Weeknd is currently worth more than US$100 million.

There’s a precedent for this

In 2020, Shakira and J-Lo’s 13-minute show cost US$13 million, although those two singers also refused to be paid for the show.

However, that doesn’t mean the event isn’t profitable for the headlining act.

Justin Timberlake, who also refused compensation for his 2018 performance, saw a 214 per cent spike in Spotify streams in the hour after the show, while Lady Gaga saw her album jump to second position on the Billboard charts - despite it being months old.

Beyonce and Bruno Mars also agreed to go without pay for their half-time shows.

“They are willing to perform for free and even subsidize the production costs through their record label or concert promoters because of this incredible exposure,” Marc Ganis, president of consulting firm Sportscorp told Forbes last year.

“Even the biggest names need to continually promote themselves. The Super Bowl halftime show is the single biggest promotional vehicle for a music star on the planet.”

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