It wasn’t the competition on the gridiron that turned the Super Bowl into the world’s most valuable sporting event brand. It was competition for the game’s halftime television audience.
The NFL had been doing something special for the Super Bowl’s halftime show since its first contest in 1967. The game plan was working fine as viewership and advertising rates kept increasing. But in 1992 Fox boss Rupert Murdoch spotted a weakness: the Super Bowl’s halftime acts weren’t hip. Some decent names performed. But not the really big ones. People stopped watching at halftime. Especially the young, hip audiences advertisers crave.
Fox, which had not yet become a partner of the NFL, saw a way to score: During the 1992 game, when Gloria Estefan was performing, Fox had its popular show In Living Color do a live Super Bowl spoof, complete with a game clock so viewers could see when the second half of the Super Bowl was going to start and switch back to CBS. The episode of In Living Color was a huge hit. Ratings for the second half of the Super Bowl crashed 10 points.
Makes sense. If you are twentysomething and have had a couple of beers, would you rather see a show produced by Rosie Perez with Keenan and Ivory Wayans and Jim Carrey, or Estefan?
The NFL learned this lesson: Don’t skimp on your most-prized asset. Enter Michael Jackson for the Super Bowl’s 1993 halftime show on NBC. The biggest act on the planet for the biggest game. The Super Bowl’s ratings increased 8.6% over the previous year, and just as important, NBC kept its audience during halftime as well as the game’s second half. Last year’s halftime show with Madonna generated a higher rating than the game.
MJ had scored the Super Bowl’s biggest touchdown and the NFL, which brings us Beyonce today, has never looked back. http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian ... uper-bowl/