Mazurek: Make halftime shows the norm
Marek Mazurek | Wednesday, February 17, 2016
The NBA All-Star game took place in Toronto this past weekend. I personally went into the NBA’s annual, frenzied regalia thinking that Sting’s performance at halftime would be the best part of the weekend.
I was correct to believe that Sting would deliver.
However, Sting’s solid performance aside, two fellows named Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon proved me wrong by putting on an amazing slam dunk contest.
And two weeks ago, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Coldplay — yes, I know Coldplay was the headlining act, and yes, I’m still mentioning them third — put on a great Super Bowl halftime show. I’m a sucker for “Uptown Funk” and Beyoncé is, well, Beyonce.
At this point, you may be sitting there and thinking, “Marek, this is a sports authority, not a music rant.” You would be correct in that regard, but the point I’m trying to make is that sporting events need more musical performances.
Why should the Super Bowl and All-Star games get all the musical acts and drama? To channel my inner Bernie Sanders, the system we have gives roughly 1 percent of the sporting events that take place every year about 99 percent of the musical acts. That’s just not right, and expanding musical performances to even regular season games would let everyone win.
Think about it: More halftime shows are good for both sports and music. Would you watch an NHL regular-season game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Florida Panthers? Probably not, right? What if it had a halftime show featuring Bruce Springsteen and Drake? By adding bigger and better halftime shows, viewership of sporting events will only increase.
The same goes for the artists, too. Beyoncé may not need the increased draw sporting events provide, but it certainly isn’t going to hurt her record sales, either. And for artists who are less famous than Beyoncé, sporting events represent a gold mine of potential listeners.
Having more games include a musical halftime show would also give teams a chance to create a unique identity. For example, the Memphis Grizzlies could choose to feature country music artists during their halftime shows, and the Boston area could showcase local bands like Aerosmith or Boston. The Dallas Cowboys would just listen to “The Fool on the Hill” on repeat, and I think the Los Angeles Rams would be happy to have Nickelback to distract fans from the fact that Case Keenum is their quarterback.
Besides, it’s not like we have a shortage of aging rock bands looking for work. Playing at a MLS game must be better than playing a kid’s birthday party for up-and-coming indie artists or washed-up metal groups.
And just think of the awesome marketing potential: Imagine the Royals with halftime act Kansas, the Bears with Chicago, the Giants with They Might Be Giants or the Eagles with … wait for it … the Eagles.
And, if we’re really lucky, we can look forward to player-singer duets. Imagine Boogie the rapper performing with DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins. Plus, I think fans would enjoy Nick Saban jamming with Lynyrd Skynyrd to “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Plus, now that one dumb commentator on every show will have something to do. Shaq can finally come into his own as TNT’s halftime act analyst, and, let’s be honest, I want to hear Dick Vitale call Justin Bieber a “diaper dandy.”
Look, I just enjoy the entertainment of halftime shows and want more of it. If it means I have to DVR the Super Bowl and fast forward through two hours of tape to watch Beyoncé, I’ll do that. If it means I have to buy tickets to Jacksonville Jaguars games to see her, I’ll do that too.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.