The NFL has formed a business partnership with one of the most influential figures in the entertainment industry.
Jay-Z confirmed on Tuesday that his agency, Roc Nation, has reached a deal with the NFL that will make the music mogul a co-producer of the Super Bowl halftime show. There is no provision that says Jay-Z himself will be a halftime performer, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Jay-Z made sure the agreement was not going to be about him taking the stage.
“I think we have autonomy. I anticipate that there will be a lot of — with any big organization, in this building right here we have internal problems,” Jay-Z told Mark Maske of The Washington Post. “Anything that’s new is going to go through its growing pains. We put what we want to do on the table. The NFL agreed to it. So we’re gonna proceed with that as if we have a partnership.”
According to NFL.com, here are details on the partnership:
As part of the agreement, Roc Nation will advise on the selection of artists for major NFL performances like the Super Bowl. A major component of the partnership will be to nurture and strengthen community through football and music, including through the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative.
The NFL formally launched the Inspire Change initiative in early 2019, after more than two years of work with NFL players, with the goal of creating positive change in communities across the country. Through this initiative, NFL teams and the league office work with the Players Coalition and other NFL players to support programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity, with a focus on three priority areas: education and economic advancement; police and community relations; and criminal justice reform.
Roc Nation Sports currently represents several star athletes, including New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley. Going into business with Jay-Z could be a good move for the NFL as it looks to rebuild its reputation among younger fans and the urban community. The handling of issues like national anthem protests and Donald Trump’s criticisms of players and teams has been a significant challenge for the NFL, and partnering with Roc Nation could help them navigate through some of that.
For what it’s worth, Jay-Z is one of a number of celebrities who have openly supported Colin Kaepernick. There was even talk that Jay-Z turned down the Super Bowl halftime show two years ago and encouraged others to do the same because of the way the NFL had treated Kaepernick. Some believe the league partnering with Jay-Z will help Kaepernick land an NFL contract.