Weekly Column: The NFL is Using Entertainment and Music to Gain Viewers

In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder Jeremy Evans has written a column about the National Football League's use of entertainment and music at halftime shows to encourage attendance and viewership.

You can read the full column below.


Although the title of this week’s column might seem obvious, it is not as simple as the National Football League (“NFL”) looking to gain viewership. The NFL is one of the premier sports leagues in the world and it needs eyeballs on content for an extended period of time. The NFL needs the current, next, and future generations to indulge, consume, and love the content on and off the field. Engagement is and will continue to be the lifeblood of the NFL.

The NFL is uniquely positioned to add entertainment to its games at halftime because of the timing of the game (four quarters and a halftime). Whereas baseball is nine innings with quick breaks in between innings. Basketball is similar to the NFL in terms of game timing, but on a smaller scale in terms of game attendance. The larger stadiums, attendance, and space for the NFL allows and even encourages halftime shows that are spectacles. Soccer is similar in halftime scheduling, but has not embraced the entertainment aspect yet—mainly because soccer is already very popular overseas, but growing in the United States where Hollywood and music play a major role in pop culture and sports. NFL teams also only play one game per week so the opportunity to book talent acts is much simpler and appetizing compared to teams that play multiple times per week. The National Hockey League (“NHL” has three periods with two intermissions, but is similarly situated to basketball in terms of attendance and the arenas are often shared with the city’s professional sports franchise.

The NFL experimented with entertainment and music acts during the 2023 Thanksgiving Day games on schedule. The result was a success. It will assuredly encourage the NFL to repeat the adventure at future games, particularly those with potentially large television and streaming audiences or those played overseas.

The NFL is taking a page out of World Wrestling Entertainment’s (“WWE”) book by adding entertainment to a sporting event. The NFL has a tremendous opportunity to book major talent acts during halftime at select matches to keep the audience engaged and entertained, but also for musicians to promote their music and careers. The only question is why it took so long for the NFL to add more entertainment and music to its halftime shows.

The answer to that question is possibly two part. First, in the past, fans had fewer distractions and possibly more passion for football as a game and that was enough to entertain fans. Owners and league presidents and commissioners then realized fans and attendees wanted something more than a game. Under the same reasoning, Major League Baseball (“MLB”) changed it rules to speed up game time.

Second, On Location Experiences is owned by Endeavor, which has controlling interest in TKO Holdings that owns WWE and UFC, and is an official partner of the NFL. It should come as no surprise that On Location Experiences is equipped to provide the entertainment talent and production expertise to light-off the proverbial entertainment and music fireworks. On Location Experiences describes itself as follows: “With over two decades of experience, On Location has redefined luxury hospitality with unsurpassed access, trusted VIP service, and expertise in event planning, travel, hospitality, and corporate ticket sales, providing seamless convenience, comfort, and elevated entertainment for both personal and corporate clients.” The company description sums up the work that the NFL needs completed to continue high attendance and viewership regardless of the product on the field during the game.

In other words, entertainment and music talent have the potential to add more recession proof protection to the NFL.


About Jeremy M. Evans:

Jeremy M. Evans is the Chief Entrepreneur Officer, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clients in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com. www.CSLlegal.com.  

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Jeremy M. Evans is the CEO, Founder & Managing Attorney of California Sports Lawyer® representing entertainment, media, and sports clients and is licensed to practice law in California.