Apple (AAPL)’s push into live sports continued Friday as the tech giant announced it will sponsor the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Some Wall Street analysts believe this might be a hint at Apple’s next big sports play.
“The Super Bowl Halftime Show is another sign that Cupertino will be aggressive on this live sports ambitions as we believe this is the drumroll to winning the DirectTV package vs Amazon,” Wedbush Securities Managing Director Dan Ives told Yahoo Finance in an email.
Ives has indicated in the past that Apple is “in the winner’s circle” for the NFL’s Sunday Ticket streaming package that provides fans access to every NFL game. That deal is believed to be worth more than $2 billion annually and one of the main moves Apple is expected to make as it dives further into live sports.
But just sponsoring the halftime show alone will also have residual benefits for Apple. Pepsi (PEP) had previously sponsored the halftime show for the last 10 years. The company didn't re-sign the sponsorship amid reports that the NFL placed a $50 million annual price tag on the event.
The sponsorship is valued so high because it’s become increasingly integrated into the Super Bowl broadcast, which was viewed by more than 120 million people last year. Since announcers are required to call the hyped halftime show by its full name “The Pepsi Halftime Show,” Pepsi was the most mentioned brand on the broadcast, according to analysis from Elevate Sports Ventures and Hive Enterprise A.I.
The broadcast mentioned Pepsi 11 times, nearly doubling the next closest company, Toyota (TM). Pepsi finished fourth in cumulative screen time during last year’s Super Bowl, with the halftime show driving the majority of its nearly four minutes of on-screen exposure.
“When you can put those two things together the way that broadcast partners do, with having a mention to something like the Pepsi Halftime Show, as well as that signage, [it] just creates that drumbeat of awareness for a brand,” HIVE Enterprise A.I. President Dan Calpin told Yahoo Finance after this year’s Super Bowl.
Josh is a reporter and producer for Yahoo Finance.