How Super Bowl Halftime Shows Lead to Super Sales, From Michael Jackson to Dr. Dre

Ever since Michael Jackson ushered in the blockbuster era of the Super Bowl halftime show when he headlined in 1993, nearly every performer who has graced the stage on sports’ (and TV’s) biggest night has enjoyed sizable boosts in sales and streams. Looking to continue this tradition is Rihanna, who is set to hit the midfield stage early next year when she headlines Super Bowl LVII. 

With few exceptions, Super Bowl halftime headliners have seen a sizable commercial uptick over the last 30 years. In 2002,  U2 saw sales for three of the band’s key albums (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, The Joshua Tree and Best of 1980-1990) more than double in the week following the performance. In 2004, Janet Jackson — in spite of, or perhaps because of, the singer’s infamous “Nipplegate” controversy — saw a similar jump. Particularly large sales gains were also seen for Paul McCartney in 2005, Prince in 2007, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in 2008, Madonna in 2012, Katy Perry and Missy Elliott in 2015, Coldplay and Bruno Mars in 2016 and, in 2017, Lady Gaga, who saw a whopping 1,000%  gain in digital album and song sales on Super Bowl Sunday alone.

In 2022, the halftime show — headlined by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige — averaged 103.4 million viewers across television and streaming in the U.S., according to NBCUniversal, which aired the event. The game itself garnered 112.3 million viewers – its best showing in five years.

Super Bowl halftime performances in the last 30-plus years have spurred some impressive boosts in sales and streams – and on Billboard’s charts. Ahead of Rihanna’s 2023 Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday, Feb. 12, here’s a look back at some of the biggest halftime show winners since 1993. (Sales and streaming data for the U.S. only, according to Luminate.)

Rania Aniftos