Shania Twain during Super Bowl XXXVII - AT&T Wireless Super Bowl XXXVII Halftime Show Media Conference Agenda at San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California, United States.

You'll Be Surprised By How Much Super Bowl Performers Get Paid

The answer might surprise you.

Super Bowl LVIII will take place on Sunday and, as always, the game will include a highly produced halftime show. This year, former "The Voice" coach Usher will take the stage when the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers return to their locker rooms mid-game.

Some of the biggest Super Bowl halftime shows in recent memory included performances from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Beyoncé, Prince, and the 2022 show featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent. There are other iconic Super Bowl memories as we go further back in history — such as shows by Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Shania Twain and many others. As for country stars beyond Twain, the entire halftime show in 1994 spotlighted Nashville. Thirty years ago, the Rockin' Country Sunday halftime show featured Travis Tritt, Clint Black, Tanya Tucker and Wynonna Judd. In a surprise twist, The Judds reunited to sing "Love Can Build a Bridge." In short, a lot of must-see moments take place between the second and third quarters of the Big Game.

The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the biggest gigs an artist can book. And with the world's most popular artists taking the stage each year, it's reasonable to think those artists would receive pretty hefty paycheck.

How Much Do Super Bowl Performers Get Paid?

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 12: Rihanna performs during Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation

In reality, artists who perform at the Super Bowl don't receive any money at all. The show is mainly seen as a promotional opportunity — and in recent years, that has proved to work out in the artist's favor. According to Esquire, when Justin Timberlake performed at the game in 2018, his streaming numbers went up by 534 percent the day of the show. When Lady Gaga performed in 2017, her music sales rose by a whopping 1,000 percent after the broadcast. It's also a big deal for an artist to say they've played the  Super Bowl and stepped on the same stage as the legendary musicians before them.

Although artists don't get paid for their actual performance, the NFL pays for the artists' travel expenses and the expense of the entire production. Super Bowl halftime shows are often very elaborate, so the NFL pays a hefty bill for the production. According to Reuters, the 2020 Super Bowl performance featuring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira cost around $13 million to put on. That number includes the payment of the 3,000 employees who worked to set up the stage and run the production.

There are many facets of a putting on a Super Bowl halftime show. You have the performer, who doesn't get paid, and the workers who do. But what about the background dancers and other people involved in the creative portion of the show? Do they get paid? The answer to that is: It depends.

The Los Angeles Times launched an investigation after The Weeknd performed at the halftime show in 2021, and it revealed a disparity among dancers' pay. According to the report, some paid dancers received $712 on the day of the show, plus $45 per hour during rehearsals, $30 per diem and a $250 COVID-19 stipend if a dancer had to test for COVID-19. These paid dancers also had a green room. On the other hand, there were unpaid dancers who were simply labeled "volunteers" and did not get paid or had an indoor room to spend time in. For the 2022 show, the NFL paid 115 dancers who took part in the halftime performance.

Usher's Motivation to Play the Halftime Show

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 13: Usher attends Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation

Fortunately for Usher, his halftime show experience will represent a gesture that his money cannot buy.

Usher told "Good Morning America" that he's dedicating the show to the Black artists who preceded him.

"It's a major thing for me," Usher said. "I think about what our country has kind of represented for Black artists — you know, having to at some point go through kitchens to even be able to perform for an audience, but they had to leave back through that same door, fear for their lives as they went to the next state to do the same thing. So I'm coming through the front door with this one."

Fans will have to wait until Sunday to see what Usher and any surprise guests have up their sleeves for the halftime performance. This year's Super Bowl kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET, and it will air on CBS.

Editor's Note: This story first ran on Feb. 8, 2023. It was updated on Feb. 7, 2024. 

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