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How Much Did The Weeknd Get Paid To Perform At The Super Bowl Halftime Show?

This weekend was the Super Bowl weekend, and the NFL took that fact to its most logical conclusion with a partnership featuring the Weeknd. It all started with a Pepsi-flavored commercial featuring the Weeknd's song "Blinding Lights" and teasing his upcoming special halftime show. The Weeknd's Super Bowl LV halftime performance turned out to be a lavish, 14-minute production during which he marched through his most popular songs. The production value and energy were through the roof during the halftime show, so it also must have cost a pretty penny.

Since the Weeknd has won numerous awards and is considered one of the most influential people of this new decade, one might assume that securing him for a Super Bowl performance would cost the NFL sizable chunk of the their halftime show budget. But what is the exact amount he was paid? Some halftime shows have exceeded $10 million (you've got to pay those stagehands, bands, and backup performers). One could easily estimate that, given his clout, the Weeknd was paid half that amount, with the other half going to everyone who helped make his performance happen. Granted, since he once sold a line of face masks and donated all the proceeds to the MusiCares Coronavirus Relief Fund, the Weeknd probably donated all the NFL paid him, right?

But was the Weeknd actually paid $5 million for performing at the 2021 Super Bowl? Or was it more like a lush $10 million? Or perhaps $15 million, or $2.5 million, or even $100,000? The actual answer might surprise you.

The Weeknd didn't get paid anything for performing at the Super Bowl

Think of the highest-paid TV and movie roles that come to mind. Now add them together. Now double the sum. Now multiply that amount ... by zero. That's how much the Weeknd was paid for his halftime show performance at Super Bowl LV.

The NFL hides many Super Bowl halftime show secrets, but the organization's biggest closet skeleton is that it has never paid a single halftime performer, and the Weeknd is no exception. In a roundabout kind of way, the Weeknd essentially paid the NFL to perform; he sunk $7 million into the halftime show to make it exactly what he wanted it to be (via Billboard). 

Now, this sounds like one of those horror stories where an artist is offered exposure instead of money. Actually, it's exactly like that — except NFL exposure is worth more than money. As it turns out, literally every artist who has gone on stage during Super Bowl halftime has received a huge windfall that can be traced back to their performance. Lady Gaga, for example, took part in the 2017 Super Bowl halftime, and her music sales skyrocketed by over a thousand percent. Likewise, Justin Timberlake's 2018 Super Bowl halftime performance was responsible for a 534 percent increase in his music sales. Odds are that the Weeknd will more than recoup what he spent on the halftime show thanks to him putting all his heart and soul into it.