January 30, 2019
Get the secrets to America’s most-televised performance of the year.
The big game is just around the corner. On Sunday, February 3, the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will kick off in Atlanta at 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS. While more than 100 million viewers will tune in to see who is crowned the 2019 NFL’s Championship team, one other thing you might be looking forward to is the halftime show.
This year, Maroon 5 headlines the show, with appearances from Big Boi and Travis Scott. But what exactly do you know about the magic that goes into the mega production? Here are 5 things you didn’t know about halftimes shows that happen for the big game.
1. Halftime show performers don’t get a paycheck
That’s right. You read that correctly. Being invited to perform the halftime show of the big game is considered a huge honor for any artist or band to be invited to do. So, while performers are not actually paid to do the show, the benefits of performing on one of the biggest stages and most-watched televised events of the year are invaluable. Stars experience major publicity from doing the halftime show, and their song sales and brand are what reap the monetary rewards. Following the 2015 halftime performance, headliner Katy Perry’s three half time show songs made the biggest digital sales week ever at the time.
2. The stage gets set up in under 7 minutes
Have you ever thought twice about the amount of time it takes between when the players head to the locker room after the second quarter to when you refill your drink to when you plop back down in your spot to enjoy TV’s biggest musical production of the year? It’s about 7 minutes. That means there is just 7 minutes to set up the massive and complex stage, sound, lighting and audience before the music starts. In order to coordinate this, halftime show producers use the stadium’s PA system that’s used for referee calls, to conduct the construction of the massive of production—directing trucks, stage set professionals, camera people, engineers, performers and audience members on where to go—all in the blink of an eye.
3. There are more eyeballs on the halftime show than the game
More viewers have tuned into the halftime show than the actual big game in most recent years, and this trend is expected to continue for the 53rd go around. In the past three years, past performers like Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake, that graced the big stage at the big game all garnered more viewers during halftime than the rest of the televised sporting event.
4. Performers have the option of lip-syncing
Your suspicions that some of the past halftime shows have been lip synced, are confirmed. While most of the lead vocals are done live, there are almost always pre-recorded vocals and acoustics, both for background and as backup in case something goes wrong. Performers can opt to lip sync or rely on a mix of both.
5. Halftime shows take 9 months to birth
Planning for the big game’s halftime show begins in June and goes all the way up until the game day in February. That’s about 9 months, and the length of a human pregnancy—and the spectacle that comes out of all the labor can be considered as miraculous and exciting as having a baby. Sites are picked, performers are booked, the concepts are formed, construction is outlined, engineering takes place, practice ensues and the final product happens halfway through the big game every year, for one of America’s most-televised events.
Now that you know a few tidbits of halftime show trivia, share it with your friends and family during game day. Knowing the inner-workings of such a big production can make you appreciate its magnitude that much more.