Here’s Why the NFL Is Using Thanksgiving to Expand Its Halftime Show Ambitions


The NFL is aiming to replicate the enormous success of the Super Bowl Halftime Show by elevating the entertainment value of its Thanksgiving Day games. In recent years, the halftime performances during these games have attracted significant viewership, compelling the NFL to spotlight artists during these high-profile broadcasts.

This year’s Thanksgiving matchups feature musical acts like Jack Harlow, Dolly Parton, and Steve Aoki performing during the halftime breaks. The NFL hopes to capitalize on the massive audience these games draw, viewing them as a strategic platform to engage viewers and expand the league’s appeal across various demographics.

The NFL’s head of music, Seth Dudowsky, highlighted the significant viewership these games command, comparing them to the Super Bowl and underscoring their potential as major musical performance opportunities. Last year’s Thanksgiving games gathered remarkable viewership, making it one of the most-watched regular-season broadcasts.


Dudowsky emphasized the NFL’s efforts to embrace music as a vital aspect of its cultural identity, aiming to connect with diverse and younger audiences. By incorporating high-profile musical performances, the NFL aims to maintain relevance and engage fans across various demographics.

This initiative not only benefits the NFL but also offers a substantial platform for artists to reach millions of viewers simultaneously. Dudowsky emphasized the mutual benefit for both the NFL and artists, providing artists with an opportunity to showcase new projects or music to a massive audience.

The league’s broadcast partners can also leverage these performances to generate excitement and potentially boost ratings during the games’ halftime segments. Additionally, for artists like Dolly Parton, who previously declined the Super Bowl Halftime Show due to the scale of production, performing during the Thanksgiving games offers a more accessible and inviting platform to reach a vast audience.

Ultimately, the NFL envisions these performances as not only standalone events but as part of a larger partnership to integrate artists into the NFL ecosystem, fostering collaboration and shared growth between the league and musicians.