The Weeknd Spent Millions Of Dollars On His Super Bowl Halftime Show

Published on February 2, 2021

The Weeknd is going big with his Super Bowl halftime show. The artist, who released one of the most popular songs of 2020, has spent $7 million of his own money on the event. The Weeknd will perform for 12 to 13 minutes, so the hit artist is spending over $500,000 a minute on his performance.

The Weeknd’s team, managers Wassim “Sal” Slaiby and Amir “Cash” Esmailian and XO’s creative director La Mar C. Taylor, revealed the news in an interview with Billboard. The Weeknd wanted to “make this halftime show be what he envisioned.” Super Bowl organizers covered the usual production costs. 

The Weeknd and his creative team want to make the show a “cinematic experience” according to the interview. “We’ve always had timelines for all of our goals,” Sailby said. “It came a few years earlier than we expected. We’ve been really focusing on dialling in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Super Bowl,” he said.

Leading up to the Super Bowl, The Weeknd is doing good for the worldThe artist teamed up with Postmates to support Black-owned restaurants. He bought meals for the AdventHealth Carrollwood medical facility in Tampa. He donated 150 meals from Mama’s Southern Soul Food, a famous local spot in Tampa not far from Raymond James Stadium.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a home-field advantage against the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes will face off in a potentially epic game. The Super Bowl is always the most-watched television event of the year. Last year, over 100 million people watched the game, meaning around 100 million will see The Weeknd’s cinematic event. 

However, those viewership numbers are nothing compared to the audience The Weeknd has attracted in the last year. “Blinding Lights” has over 1.6 billion streams. In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, Pepsi ads have been playing nonstop with the song. The ad shows people living their lives and singing along to the tune. Then, at the end of the ad, the Weeknd arrives at the Super Bowl halftime show. It’s a testament to how great the song is that, even with all the radio play and commercials, the song never loses its magic. 

It’s why music fans and the music industry are still left baffled by The Grammys snub. The Weeknd didn’t receive a single nomination. “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…” The Weeknd tweeted in response. “Collaboratively planning a performance for weeks to not being invited?  In my opinion zero nominations = you’re not invited!” 

Artists and fans called out the awards show for its corruption, an allegation the awards show has faced for many years. Recently, The Weeknd expanded on his Grammy Snub and said  “I use a sucker punch as an analogy,” he told Billboard. “Because it just kind of hit me out of nowhere. I felt things. I don’t know if it was sadness or anger, I think it was just confusion, I just wanted answers. Like, ‘What happened?’ We did everything right, I think,” he said.

The Weeknd stressed that his feelings are not coming from a place of arrogance. “I’m not a cocky person,” he added. “I’m not arrogant. People told me I was going to get nominated. The world told me. Like, ‘This is it; this is your year.’ We were all very confused. If you were like, ‘Do you think the Grammys are racist?’ I think the only real answer is that in the last 61 years of the Grammys, only 10 Black artists have won Album of the Year. Look, I personally don’t care anymore,” he concluded. “I have three Grammys, which mean nothing to me now, obviously. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I want the Grammy!’ It’s just that this happened, and I’m down to get in front of the fire, as long as it never happens again.”

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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