UPDATED 3:11PM: The NFL’s players union is siding with the musicians in the dust-up over pay-to-play for the Super Bowl halftime show. “The NFL Players Association will always support workers and fair wages,” a spokesman for the NFL Players Association tells Deadline.
PREVIOUSLY 2:11PM: Union pushback is mounting against the NFL’s reported plan to get halftime acts to pay to perform at future Super Bowls. The AFL-CIO’s Department of Professional Employees today just joined the American Federation of Musicians in condemning such a plan.
“No one should ever pay to work. No organization should ever get a kickback from a worker they employ,” the labor organization said of the plan, first detailed in the Wall Street Journal. “The Department of Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, its affiliates in the entertainment industry, and the other unions, 22 in all, will stand with the AFM in condemning and will fight back against any attempts to make workers pay to perform,” the group said of the plan to convince music acts to cough up cash to play the halftime show, most likely in the form of a cut of post-show ticket sales, downloads, etc.
The NFL has not been paying its Super Bowl halftime performers — most recently Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers at this year’s game. That February 2 halftime show actually clocked more viewers than did the football game. Some of music’s biggest acts have played the halftime shows including Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé and Prince.
Related: Super Bowl: The Halftime Show
“It’s not like the NFL and its Super Bowl organizers don’t have any money and can’t afford to pay for halftime show performances, it’s about the insatiable thirst for profits at the expense of great musical entertainment and those who create it,” AFM President Ray Hair said last week. “You can find kickback schemes like this coming from unscrupulous bar and nightclub owners, but for the NFL to descend to such depths would be unconscionable.”