Pepsi has decided to give up the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
They're not giving up on the NFL entirely; according to CNBC, the NFL and Pepsi signed a new sponsorship deal which includes pouring rights for Pepsi at top NFL events (including the NFL Draft) and keeps Pepsi-owned Gatorade highly visible on NFL sidelines.
But the rights to the halftime show are not included in this new deal, and CNBC estimated the NFL could get up to $50 million for those rights alone.
Why would Pepsi give up the halftime show, which is arguably more popular with some audiences than the actual game itself?
According to AdWeek, "The soft drink giant plans to concentrate more of its media spend in digital as traditional broadcast TV audiences continue to dwindle. While the Super Bowl may be one of the last vestiges of appointment television, its halftime show faces myriad challenges from social media, streaming and other mediums."
For context, the smallest audience for the halftime show was in 2021, where "only" 96.7 million people watched.
In a statement, Pepsi said ending the partnership reflects a “larger strategic shift to bring unprecedented music and entertainment experiences” to consumers “where they are now, and where they will be in the future.”
I'm certain the smart folks at Pepsi did the math and somehow determined they could reach more people, more effectively, with the money they were spending to own the halftime show.
And to be sure, $50 million can buy a lot of TikTok ads.
But can Pepsi find another stage as large and significant as the Super Bowl, or is the company's new strategy to use that money for investments in many (many, many) more smaller stages instead? We'll have to wait and see.
Also, Pepsi has established itself over the years as an entertainment powerhouse, and while not all of its halftime shows have been winners, they've certainly been good enough to capture the attention of millions of fans every year...
... so what happens to the halftime show going forward?
What company can (and will) step up and write the NFL a giant check for the rights to entertain us during the Big Game's big break?
And how ironic would it be for TikTok to be the halftime show's new sponsor?
P.S. The TikTok thing is just wishful thinking. Our next halftime show will likely be brought to us by a Crypto company.