Why else would a league that's already worth $10 billion suggest that some sort of financial contribution might be necessary for the world's biggest musical performers to be named headliners of the Super Bowl halftime show?
A Wall Street Journal report Tuesday stated that the league has narrowed its list of candidates for the 2015 spectacular to Katy Perry, Rihanna and Coldplay and has asked at least some of those acts how they would feel about handing over a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour proceeds or making some other contribution to the league's funds in exchange for the high-profile gig.
The Super Bowl draws a massive audience -- an estimated 112.2 million watched last year's game. Advertisers pay up to $4 million to air a 30-second commercial. And there's no doubt that the halftime performers receive a sales bump in the following days.
But does that mean the halftime show is just one long commercial. I'm not so sure, and apparently neither are this year's Super Bowl halftime candidates, who were said to have given the pay-to-perform suggestion a "chilly reception."
I'm sure superstar acts like Rihanna, Perry and Coldplay would love the kind of exposure the Super Bowl brings, but, honestly, do they really need it?
As much as a lot of us love to bash the halftime show, it's part of the giant spectacle that the Super Bowl has become. At this point, the big game just wouldn't be the same without one of the biggest names in the music industry taking the stage midway through.
The Seahawks were already blowing out the Broncos by the time halftime rolled around last year, yet some 115.3 million people still tuned in when Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage.
Not sure that an audience of that size would hang around for some second-tier singer or band that needs the exposure and is willing to pay for it.
The NFL has never paid the Super Bowl halftime acts, although it has been known to help cover expenses. The relationship between the league and the performers seems to have been mutually beneficial up to this point.
It should stay that way.