NFL Plans Season Kickoff

The NFL is in preliminary talks to host a concert in Los Angeles in conjunction with shows in other cities to kick off the 40th Super Bowl anniversary season.

Live performances are being planned for games at Ford Field in Detroit and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., on the season’s opening day, September 8th. Ford Field will be the site of Super Bowl XL and Gillette Stadium is the home of the New England Patriots, last year’s champs.

Although Los Angeles has not had an NFL team in several years, the league is meeting with the L.A. Sports & Entertainment Commission and others to plan a concert at the Hollywood & Highland complex – home of the Kodak Theatre.

The league has been holding live music events at the launch of the football season for several years, including concerts at NYC’s Times Square in 2002 and Washington, D.C.’s National Mall in 2003.

Last year, the NFL hosted simultaneous events in Detroit and Jacksonville, Fla., where Jessica Simpson performed. Portions of the performances were broadcast live in a one-hour special before the game.

“We’re looking at pretty much the same scenario,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Pollstar, “where it’d be multiple acts over multiple hours, and then we would incorporate some of the performance – most likely live – from L.A. into that one-hour show.”

Besides Simpson, last year’s season kickoff featured appearances from Elton John, Destiny’s Child, Lenny Kravitz, Toby Keith, and Mary J. Blige. Although no acts have been confirmed for this year’s event, McCarthy said it will feature a similar “A-list” roster.

“We’re looking at a wide range,” he said. “We’ve been very successful over the last number of years with a wide, diverse group and we certainly look at entertainment as another way to reach our fans.

“We’re a player within the music industry; you only have to look at who performs at our Super Bowls and other events.”

The NFL has not staged a major event in Los Angeles since the city’s Raiders and Rams teams left after the 1994 season.

— Niilo Smeds