This Sunday evening, after stuffing your face with chips and wings and watching gobs of commercials, you’ll have to wrestle with this question: How was Maroon 5’s halftime performance?
After all, you’ll need an answer to discuss on social media on Sunday night and over the water-cooler on Monday morning.
Adam Levine and his pop band will headline the 2019 Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show and will be joined on stage by rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi at the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta this Sunday, the NFL announced. Along with some falsettos, the performance will be blasted to hundreds of millions of eyes and ears all across the world.
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So how much does this sweet gig pay? Likely nothing.
The NFL does not pay the halftime show talent. In an email to MONEY, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told MONEY that the league covers all costs. (He also mentioned that performers receive “union scale,” a reference to a minimum wage set by the union. The union, the Screen Actors Guild, did not respond to requests for comment.)
So Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi (one half of hip-hop duo Outkast) will all likely receive small potatoes for performing. Soul singer and Atlanta native Gladys Knight will sing the National Anthem, and will also not receive a fat paycheck.
However, there are two checks the NFL will be writing this year, thanks to Scott and others. The rapper refused to perform unless the league agreed to make a donation to a social justice organization. Together with Scott, the NFL is making a $500,000 donation to Dream Corps, an organizing focused on finding solutions for social change, founded by political commentator Van Jones.
Scott said he backs “anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in,” in a statement. “I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change.”
Perhaps spurred by Scott’s donation, Maroon 5 also announced this week that they would make a $500,000 donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in partnership with Interscope Records and the NFL. Maroon 5 keyboardist PJ Morton addressed the protest controversy in an interview with People saying, “I think there are plenty of people — a lot of the players, to be honest — who support Kap and also do their job for the NFL. I think we’re doing the same thing. We can support being against police brutality against black and brown people and be in support of being able to peacefully protest and still do our jobs.”
Needless to say, this year’s pick of halftime show performers wasn’t without controversy. The show’s line up was affected by the national debate sparked by former NFL quarterback Colin Kapernick kneeling in protest of police brutality and racial injustice in 2016. Billboard reported major stars like Rhianna and Cardi B (who is nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with Maroon 5 for ‘Girls Like You,’) declined to perform during the NFL event, citing their support for Kapernick, who has still not been hired by any team in the league since making his public protests.
Maroon 5 and Levine have taken heat for their decision to perform in light of Kapernick’s treatment. Vocal criticism of their choice has come from other celebrities like comedian Amy Schumer, who didn’t shy away from calling out the band, writing “I think it would be cool if @maroon5 backed out of super bowl like @badgalriri Did. I personally told my reps I wouldn’t do a Super Bowl commercial this year. I know it must sound like a privilege ass sacrifice but it’s all i got,” in an Instagram caption in October.
Controversy and pay aside, there’s still a major upside for the artists to performing at the Super Bowl. An estimated 100 million people tune in around the world to watch the championship football game. That’s priceless P.R.
This year’s artists are still living comfortably with or without a paycheck from the NFL. Maroon 5 is worth an estimated $45 million, while Travis Scott is worth somewhere around $22 million, and Big Boi has an estimated net worth of $50 million.