That’s a difficult question to accurately gauge, but saying that a Super Bowl halftime show performance is both a tremendous opportunity for the artist and America’s highest profile sporting event is certainly not an exaggeration (provided the artists don’t embarrass themselves).
And due to Lady Gaga’s current popularity and unique appeal, her performance during the Super Bowl LI halftime show could be more lucrative than most.
First, the Super Bowl is traditionally the most watched, talked about television event in the U.S. each year — although this year’s presidential debates might give it a run for its money.
Last year’s Super Bowl alone, a 24-10 victory by the Denver Broncos over the Carolina Panthers, drew the third-thighest Nielsen rating in TV history, an average of 111.9 million viewers tuning in. But that audience spiked to 115.5 million during the halftime show from 8:30–9 p.m. EST that featured performances from Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.
The only two TV programs that more viewers ever watched than last year’s Super Bowl?
The previous two year’s Super Bowls.
Last year’s Super Bowl on CBS drew a then record for ad sales, with a 30-second ad going for as much as $5 million, CBS executives announced on an earnings call in early August 2015, months before the teams playing in the Feb. 7, 2016 game were even known.
And this year’s Super Bowl ad prices are expected to soar even higher.
Now, throw Lady Gaga into the mix, arguably one of the most popular entertainers in the world today with multiple Grammy awards to her name, who just so happens to be dropping her latest album, "Joanne," on Oct. 21, and you have the recipe for a potential windfall for Lady Gaga, the NFL and advertisers.
According to The NPD Group, a global market research company, roughly half of all Super Bowl viewers are not even football fans and are tuning in to watch the halftime show, the TV ads that are some of the most highly anticipated and buzzworthy of the year or are simply watching the game with a large group of people as a social gathering event.
Lady Gaga boasts about 51 million fans in the U.S., according to The NPD Group, and more than half of them are not even football fans. So, they’ll likely tune into the Super Bowl to watch a program that they might not normally be interested in.
That number needs to be coupled with Lady Gaga’s tremendous social media reach as well. The artist has more than 61 million fans on Facebook, about 19 million Instagram followers and 63 million fans on Twitter.
In fact, when Lady Gaga posted on her Facebook page on Thursday (Sept. 29) afternoon that she would be headlining the Super Bowl LI halftime show, her post garnered more than 125,000 likes, more than 27,000 shares and almost 5,000 comments in less than 24 hours.
That’s tremendous social media reach that Lady Gaga is bringing to the table.
“This annual entertainment venue presents advertisers with a unique opportunity to influence the purchases of millions of target consumers,” according to Barbara Zack, vice president at The NPD Group. “And the selection of the Super Bowl performers can impact the total number of viewers, the demographics of viewers, the purchasing power of viewers and, ultimately, the value of the event to specific advertisers.”
There’s a reason that the NFL doesn’t pay Super Bowl performers — the NFL tried to have performers pay for the right to play the Super Bowl recently but was unsuccessful in that endeavor — and this year’s sponsor, Pepsi, also said it is not paying Lady Gaga to have her perform during the halftime show.
The Super Bowl might be the only venue in the world that a star of Lady Gaga’s caliber would play for free.
That’s how valuable an opportunity it is for the artist.
But NPD Group believes that Lady Gaga’s performance could be a very valuable opportunity for advertisers as well, as her fans are 24 percent more likely than most to be brand switchers.
“If Pepsi is able to engage with these fans in a compelling manner through Gaga’s performance, perhaps Pepsi can successfully impact their brand choice and, ultimately, Pepsi’s market share,” according to NPD.
Doritos, another traditionally active Super Bowl advertiser and another PepsiCo brand, also stands to benefit considerably from Lady Gaga’s performance during halftime, as NPD said that Gaga’s fans represent 22 percent of all consumption of tortilla chips.
GEICO could be another big Super Bowl winner this year, according to NPD, as Lady Gaga fans are 8 percent more likely to be a GEICO customer.
This year’s Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show will be held on Feb. 5, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston. It will be aired on Fox.