KOZN's Matt Schick reports tonight that the UFL is going to announce that R&B/Rap artist Nelly will be the halftime performer at Friday nights Nighthawks season opener against Hartford. I don't follow R&B/Rap music at all, and frankly, don't care to. It's not my cup of tea. I tried to sit through Kanye West (pre-Taylor Swift) as the opening act for U2 a few years back; that's an hour of my life I won't ever get back. (U2, on the other hand, was absolutely epic that night and worth every penny and then some.)
Doing a little Google research on Nelly indicates that he's apparently a big deal to some people; he ranks #3 on Billboard's top artists of this decade. Of course, any list that has Nickelback and Britney Spears ranked in the same top ten has dubious value to me. Musical taste aside, I do have one question about this choice:
Mike'l Severe indicate that this game is close to a sellout. People aren't going to this game for the halftime show. People want to see football in Omaha, not a hip hop halftime show. I have my tickets, and I'm planning to bring my kids. Except now I have to deal with a halftime show by an artist who's albums are blazen with "Parental Advisory-Explicit Content" warning labels.
If Nelly is as big of an artist as he seems to be, he's not coming to Omaha for cheap. Again, I've got my tickets, so it's not like I'm paying extra for it. But it's got to hurt the long-term viability of a league that lost an average of $2.3 million per game last season. And if the game is just about sold out, Nelly isn't going to increase ticket sales either.
I guess there is a message that this suggests that the UFL is somehow "big time"...but unless the UFL is going to sign up name artists for every game, I don't see the point. Most people who bought tickets to this game bought them without any expectation of a "big time" artist to appear. It's simply not necessary. Put the time and resources into the actual game atmosphere. Some people will enjoy Nelly, but others won't. Even worse, if Nelly decides to drop an f-bomb in front of my kids, it could be the last time I attend a Nighthawks game.
Up to now, the Omaha Nighthawks have seemingly done everything right in promoting the team. This move seems to have more downside than upside. The Nighthawks have the potential to be big...but are they going to screw it up anyway?