Update: A publicist for Pepsi has reached out with a correction: “The Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show featuring The Weeknd will be roughly 12 to 13 minutes in length, as it has always been.”
Billboard‘s cover story on The Weeknd ahead of his Super Bowl Halftime Show on February 7 reveals an interesting tidbit about the show, as noted by Variety‘s Justin Curto: The show is planned to be 24 minutes long — twice as long as any show in the past. The Weeknd is performing live in-stadium at Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium before a 22,000-person audience — way below the stadium’s full capacity of 65,890 — so those folks will at least be getting their money’s worth for the concert, if not the full-on live football experience of going to the Super Bowl would usually afford them.
The extra-long run time is possible as Pepsi and Coca-Cola have pulled many of their ads, which usually make up the bulk of Super Bowl programming, and can run a company up to $5 million on average. That’s a lot of money to spend on a 30-second or minute-long clip as the pandemic continues to chew up profits. Fortunately for The Weeknd, their loss is his gain, as the extra time will allow him to fulfill his vision. He told Billboard, “We’ve been really focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Super Bowl,” and he even put up $7 million of his own money.
He also says he’ll retire his After Hours look sometime after. While it’s certainly been a wild ride seeing the character’s transformation from bandaged, battered loser to Handsome Squidward, The Weeknd is ready to evolve into his next form — whatever that will be.