Why Pepsi Decided Not To Sponsor The 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show

Next year, when you bring out that tray of appetizers for the Super Bowl, you might find yourself a little thirsty. Why? Because something will be missing: Pepsi.

This week, Pepsi renewed its sponsorship deal with the NFL for 2023, but without the rights to the Super Bowl halftime show, per CNBC. This deal marks the end of a decade-long era of "Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Shows." On May 24, Pepsi took to Twitter to announce the news, writing, "After 10 years of iconic Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show performances, we have decided it's time to pass the mic." 2022's halftime show, featuring Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, and Eminem, was — for now at least — Pepsi's last. 

It's worth noting that even though the soda giant will no longer be the halftime show sponsor, it will continue to be the beverage company featured at all top NFL events, including the draft. This is still massive publicity, considering the first day of the 2022 NFL draft caught over 10 million viewers, reports the LA Times.

In a statement, Pepsi says that its involvement in the Super Bowl halftime show this past decade has carried the mission of "driving cultural conversation and rewriting the script on traditional brand sponsorships" (via AdAge). But it seems Pepsi has its eyes on ushering in a bubbly new era of music. 

A move for the music

Pepsi's statement explains that its withdrawal is part of a "larger strategic shift to bring unprecedented music and entertainment experiences to fans — where they are now, and where they will be in the future," per Adweek. This emphasis on accessibility and future growth suggests that Pepsi might pursue a shift toward promoting music via Spotify, YouTube, TikTok, or other platforms that are less mainstream than the Super Bowl stage and more targeted toward younger audiences. The soda brand has continuously demonstrated support of up-and-coming music, particularly hip-hop, like in September 2021 when it hopped on TikTok for a campaign with rapper Doja Cat, reports Marketing Dive. Pepsi even partnered with Fat Joe to launch a virtual hip-hop talent competition last year via Triller called "Your Wildest Dreams."

Tracie Rodburg, NFL senior vice president of sponsorship management, elaborated on this idea to CNBC. "Our priorities and their priorities have evolved, and we wanted to make sure that as we continue this partnership that we're all working toward the same goal," Rodburg explained. The news outlet reports that the NFL is releasing the halftime show rights back on the market with an asking price of $50 million.