The 2021 Super Bowl halftime show is taking place in Tampa, Florida at Raymond James Stadium, which served a role in the coronavirus pandemic. The Weeknd will take the stage during Super Bowl LV as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, is headlining the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show at Raymond James Stadium, according to the NFL. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, so the halftime show will begin at about 8 p.m. The NFL described The Weeknd as “one of today’s most compelling and significant artists of a generation.”
“In less than a decade, The Weeknd has amassed a global fanbase, become a multi-award winning artist, and recently, was named one of the most influential people of 2020 by Time Magazine. Regarded for his creative vision, The Weeknd is known for his genre-bending music and redefining storytelling, both sonically and visually,” the NFL said in a press release about the halftime show.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Weeknd Said ‘One Can Only Dream’ of Headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show
The Weeknd said in a statement to the NFL he grew up watching halftime show performances. He said he only dreamed of taking the stage during a Super Bowl halftime show.
“We all grow up watching the world’s biggest acts playing the Super Bowl and one can only dream of being in that position. I’m humbled, honored and ecstatic to be the center of that infamous stage this year,” The Weeknd said.
Super Bowl halftime performers are not paid for their performance, but the NFL does cover the costs associated with the performance, according to Sporting News.
The Weeknd got his artist name from his decision to leave home for a weekend during high school and then deciding to drop out of school, the news outlet reported. His music incorporates many genres of music, but has a heavy R&B influence.
Jay-Z commended The Weeknd for his unique sound in a statement to the NFL.
“The Weeknd has introduced a sound all his own. His soulful uniqueness has defined a new generation of greatness in music and artistry,” he said. “This is an extraordinary moment in time and the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show is going to be an extraordinary experience with an extraordinary performer.”
The Raymond James Stadium Served As a COVID-19 Testing Site & Healthcare Workers Were Invited to Attend Super Bowl 55
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs will face off during a Super Bowl marked by the coronavirus pandemic in a stadium which served as a COVID-19 testing site, according to USA Today. Hillsborough County encompasses Tampa, where 1,300 people died from COVID-19.
The county, which is home to 1.4 million residents, is considered an “extremely high risk” location for the coronavirus, according to The New York Times COVID-19 risk calculator. More than 100,000 county residents tested positive for the virus, leading to about 2,700 hospitalized patients.
The 65,890-seat stadium will hold only a small number of spectators due to the coronavirus. Among those filling the seats will be 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers, who were invited to attend for free. Those tickets had a value of about $2,500 apiece and about $18.75 million total, USA Today reported.
Jill Roberts, an assistant professor at the University of South Florida in the College of Public Health, told the publication she believes the risk is “very low” in the stadium, but she has concerns about people gathering at bars, restaurants and tailgate parties.
“I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing the NFL doing at the actual game itself. I think within the stadium and the game itself, the risk is very low,” she said. “My concern is an influx of people going to bars and restaurants and tailgating in areas near the stadium and all of those things. Super Bowl parties are going to be as big of a problem as gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas were, and we do know for sure those gatherings did influence the increase in cases that we’re seeing right now.”