The news: Apple will sponsor the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show, replacing longtime sponsor Pepsi in an estimated $50 million deal with the NFL, per The New York Times.
Why this matters: The halftime show deal is significant for Apple, which has long distinguished itself from other consumer goods companies, and could influence ongoing negotiations about which streaming service will purchase the rights to the NFL’s coveted Sunday Ticket.
The reason for the long contracts? Changing the broadcasting home of a sports league has some short-term negative effects. When Monday Night Football transferred from ABC to ESPN, the NFL lost a quarter of its viewership, eventually recovering it in the long term and boosting ESPN’s broadcasting power. Amazon has warned of a similar effect with Thursday Night Football.
Apple’s sea change: A brand like Pepsi makes sense as a sponsor for the halftime show. It has long associated itself with popular musical acts of the day, and consumers have come to expect noted CPG brands to sponsor major events. For Apple, it’s a different story.
Apple Music, on the other hand, has a tiny cultural imprint compared with the behemoth that is Spotify. Thanks to a vast audio library, cheap subscription costs, and intense personalization, Spotify has secured its place in pop culture and made 24/7 access to music a standard.
The big takeaway: With the Super Bowl deal, Apple has shown that it’s not willing to cede its place in music or pop culture to Spotify just yet. Apple may be testing the waters of a football contract with the event, but whether it strikes a deal or not, the NFL is looking to digital broadcasters for the future of its league.
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