Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles will showcase the National Football League as a study in contrasts: a rich and powerful organization that’s flying as high as ever, and yet one that is both beset with culture problems and intensely image-conscious. That tension can lead to some questionable calls that some might deem insulting.
Take the halftime performances by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar. Historically, Super Bowls have offered artists exposure and marketing opportunities that far outweigh the surprisingly modest paycheck. But the NFL didn’t just get these hip-hop stars to perform for free. In fact, this year it’s costing Dre money, even though he’s got no new album or tour to promote. I’m told that the hip-hop legend and Beats Electronics mogul, who is from Los Angeles, has put up most of the $7 million budget himself and bought an extra SoFi Stadium box for friends to watch. He ostensibly recognizes the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take the stage before the world’s largest audience.