Apple Music will sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show, replacing Pepsi

Apple Music will take over as sponsor of the NFL’s Super Bowl halftime show, replacing Pepsi as the primary sponsor of the annual spectacle, which typically draws one of the largest television audiences of the year.

“Music and sports hold a special place in our hearts, so we’re very excited that Apple Music will be a part of music and soccer’s biggest stage,” said Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music and Beats, in a prepared statement. “We look forward to even more epic performances next year and beyond with the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show.”

In recent months, Apple has shown more interest in sports. Its streaming platform has struck deals with Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer to show games to subscribers. Sports rights have long been the preserve of traditional media companies like Fox, Disney, Paramount Global and NBCUniversal, but tech companies like Apple and Amazon have made a bigger play for those rights as they seek to attract consumers to their new broadband subscription video services. Amazon, for its part, is now a major partner of the NFL thanks to its control of the rights to “Thursday Night Football.”

The first Super Bowl with Apple as a halftime sponsor will take place on Sunday, February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. Apple Music expects to offer a preview of its ideas in the coming months through its social handle, @AppleMusic, on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.

“We couldn’t think of a better partner for the world’s most-watched music performance than Apple Music, a service that entertains, inspires and motivates millions of people around the world through the intersection of music and technology,” said Nana-Yaw Asamoah, senior vice president on the partnership strategy for the NFL, in a statement.

The league said more than 120 million viewers watched the halftime show that accompanied Super Bowl LVI. The extravaganza featured Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar, marking the first time these five artists performed together on stage. Under Pepsi, other halftime acts include The Weeknd, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Bruno Mars.

But Pepsi said in May that it would not return as a sponsor of the halftime show in 2022, opting to withdraw from a decade-long association that shifted the event away from a roster of mostly rock musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in benefiting a new crop of artists who are favored by the younger generations that advertisers and the NFL seek to woo. The NFL is said to be seeking significantly higher annual payments for the sponsorship rights.

For years, each halftime show was treated as a one-off event, with a new sponsor coming in each year. Coca-Cola and Oscar Mayer were among the program’s early supporters. In 2000, online broker E-Trade began a three-year stint as a sponsor of the event. Tire manufacturer Bridgestone in 2008 joined the halftime program for five years, supporting The Who, The Black-Eyed Peas and Madonna, among others. Pepsi, which originally sponsored the Super Bowl XLI halftime show in 2007, which featured Prince, began its ten-year sponsorship of the halftime show in 2013.