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Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Coldplay have to pay to play at the 2015 Super Bowl

Best friends: Rihanna & Perry both up for Superbowl halftime show
Best friends: Rihanna & Perry both up for Superbowl halftime showPhoto by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for The Griffin

At first glance, this proposal makes zero sense. Why would a pop star like Rihanna pay the NFL to play a couple songs at the national halftime show?

Let’s dive into this deeper. The Wall Street Journal claims the NFL has three artists in mind for the 2015 halftime performance set for February 1, 2015 at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Sounds like music to our ears, until the NFL revealed the artists have to pay to play.

While informing the superstars of their candidacy for the halftime show, the National Football League also asked the musical sensations if they would be generous enough “to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league, or if they would make some other type of financial contribution, in exchange for the halftime gig,” says the Wall Street Journal.

Of course, we saw this coming; WSJ revealed the request was not appreciated by the artists. The way this all works with the NFL is musical acts never receive any monetary compensation from the league to perform at halftime. Instead, they are paid in publicity. In return, artists consider this opportunity to capitalize on the incredible widespread exposure. Many musicians like Beyoncé and Bruno Mars had announced their tours after performing at the Superbowl in an effort to experience a spike in ticket sales.

Forbes reported artists play what amounts to a 12-minute commercial. This not only gives them exposure and a rise to extra star power, but should boost ticket sales for concerts, albums, and merchandise. To put this in context, a 30-second ad during the last Super Bowl cost about $4 million.

NFL spokeswoman told E! News that the only goal is “to put on the best possible show. Our contract arrangements with artists are confidential.”

Last year, our talented Bruno Mars blessed the stage with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Despite his out-of-this-world performance, Mars was subject to much backlash and criticism. Many claimed he was not a big enough star for the highly coveted gig. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Mars stated, “ I did hear that, and I think that was by far the most disgusting thing I think I’ve heard.”

The Super Bowl XLVIII game, where the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos brought in 111.5 million viewers (the most watched game ever).