Jennifer Lopez-Shakira Super Bowl halftime show was a turning point for the NFL

This post was updated following the Super Bowl performance and to clarify the description of Jay-Z not standing during the U.S. National Anthem.

Pop icons Jennifer Lopez and Shakira set social media ablaze following their 2020 Super Bowl halftime performance, which included everything from a stripper pole to a children’s choir.

Sunday in Miami was the first time two Latina women headlined the monumental event, and the historic selection represented an important turning point for the NFL as the league looks to become a more culturally inclusive organization.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 02: Shakira and Jennifer Lopez perform onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

The NFL took heavy criticism for its handling of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his 2016 “take a knee” movement.

The silent protest prompted several big-name celebrities like Rihanna and Cardi B to boycott the NFL in solidarity with Kaepernick — and the league quickly began to feel the impact in ratings and public opinion.

The NFL was highly criticized for its handling of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his 2016 "take a knee" movement

The 2019 Super Bowl attracted its lowest audience in over a decade, with only 98.2 million viewers tuning in. Critics flocked to Twitter to attack the game’s all-white, all-male halftime performers — pop group Maroon 5. A viral petition was even created in an effort to remove the band from the show altogether.

Consequently, Sunday night might have served as the first big step in fixing the NFL’s battered image. Furthermore, Super Bowl XIV was the first Super Bowl halftime show co-produced in partnership with rapper-turned-billionaire businessman Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter.

The new alliance, announced back in August, represents a conscious effort by the NFL to improve its reputation and revamp its social injustice initiative. Jay-Z and his entertainment media company Roc Nation will serve as the league's “live music entertainment strategist” moving forward.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Jay Z at the Roc Nation and NFL Partnership Announcement at Roc Nation on August 14, 2019 in New York City

While the pairing may seem odd, Jay-Z — a staunch Kaepernick supporter and vocal critic of the NFL in the past — defended his new role to help the league grow and improve from the inside out (and has received criticism in the process). During Sunday night’s game, Jay-Z did not stand during the U.S. National Anthem.

A boost from streaming

The NFL famously doesn’t pay its Super Bowl halftime performers, but the post-performance surge many of these artists experience is well worth the lack of a paycheck.

Last year, Maroon 5 saw a sales spike of nearly 500% following the group’s Super Bowl LIII performance, according to Nielsen.

Similarly, Justin Timberlake’s same-day music sales jumped 534% after his 2018 show, while Lady Gaga’s digital catalogue surged above 1000% the year prior.

Alexandra Canal is a Producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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