The NFL has botched it again when it comes to Super Bowl halftime acts. Choosing Maroon 5 to perform in Atlanta this season is a tone-deaf move.
Atlanta has one of the most vibrant music cultures in the United States. Hosting a Super Bowl there gave the NFL a terrific opportunity to capitalize on that by choosing a halftime musical act that could connect with a younger audience. Instead, Roger Goodell and company played it safe and went with Maroon 5.
In a vacuum, going with Adam Levine and company isn’t a horrible choice. If this event was being held in Minnesota, it might make sense to go for a safe musical act with broad appeal. Maroon 5 will certainly appeal to the NFL’s mainstream fan base.
The point here, is that the league missed a golden opportunity to try to broaden its base. While leagues like the NBA continue to embrace a diverse, millennial audience, the NFL continues to try to double down on its existing group of fans. One needs only look at how NASCAR’s popularity is dwindling at the moment to see how that strategy works out over the long-term.
In fairness to the league, early reports do claim that Travis Scott and Cardi B are likely to appear as special guests. This should serve to drastically reduce the average age of fans excited about the musical guests for this year’s Super Bowl. It’s still not enough of a forward move the American’s most conservative sports league.
It’s not as if the Atlanta area is short on musical guests who would have been interested. The list of musicians, groups and rap stars who call the ATL home is far too extensive to list here. The League’s inability or unwillingness to give someone from Atlanta the shot to headline this show is an embarrassment for everyone.
Expect NFL officials to try to rectify the situation by adding more “special guests” than ever before. They’ll try to make Maroon 5 look like a reasonable choice by sprinkling in younger, more contemporary acts with them on stage. Young fans will know the truth. The NFL has ignored them once again.