I have said it before but I will say it again. The The National Football League (NFL) remains one of the most greedy and thuggish organizations in the country in dealing with host cities, artists, and citizens. The fact that it has been allowed to retain not-for-profit status is a grotesque triumph of money and lobbying in our country. Now, as proof that the NFL has lost any sense of shame, it is asking artists who want to play at the Superbowl to not simply play for free but to actually pay to play.
Just as a reminder, the half-time shows draw a large audience than does the actual game — pulling in massive revenues for advertisers and by extension the NFL in media contracts. The last Super Bowl halftime show with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars drew a record 115.3 million viewers while the entire event averaged 112.2 million viewers.
This year’s three candidates are Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Coldplay. However, the NFL is trying to shake down the artists and it is not clear if the artists will dispense with any sense of dignity or fairness and actually pay to play. The image of NFL officials (who demand limos, luxury suites, and golf courses from host cities) demanding payment to pay at the game set a new low for the NFL. However, none of this matters. The NFL appears immune from fans or Congress or decency.
There are few bigger football fans around, but something needs to be done with this organization. Once again, it is time to strip the NFL of its not-for-profit status.
I leave you with a famous clip that could have been a hearing on the NFL and its leadership: