After Pepsi exited the halftime deal, it seemed inevitable that the drinks giant would be replaced by a tech-focused entertainment brand, given the changing nature of sports sponsorships and the unique opportunities the show brings. It is routinely among the most-watched part of the game; the 2022 show, starring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar, averaged 103.4 million viewers.
While those massive viewing numbers bring huge awareness opportunities, sports sponsors are looking for more than awareness; they want content that can be leveraged across multiple platforms for long periods of time.
Pepsi over the years tried to get more value from the show by hyping it early with various initiatives. Last season, for instance, it launched a special Super Bowl halftime show app that housed content related to the show, including behind-the-scenes footage, as well as information on sweepstakes like the chance to win sideline passes to the show.
But Pepsi moved away from the pricey deal, confirming its exit last May, saying it was part of a “much larger strategic shift” in how it would present music and entertainment experiences to fans.
Brad Jakeman, a former president of PepsiCo global beverages who was involved in negotiating Pepsi’s original deal, called the Apple deal “genius.”
“Just like the Pepsi deal, it’s an authentic partnership between two brands synonymous with music,” said Jakeman, now a senior advisor at Boston Consulting Group.
But Apple Music seems better suited to integrate the show into its existing services, given that music streaming is its core business. Apple will presumably try to use the show, and the content around it, to boost its subscriber count. It ranks second in music streaming subscriber share at 15% but is way behind leader Spotify, which has a 31% share, according to figures published last year by entertainment intelligence firm Midia Research.