The championship of American football, or Super Bowl, will be played Sunday, February 3. The New England Patriots meet the St. Louis Rams at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Over the years, the musical performances at the event have provided action equal to the game.
New Orleans will rock, as the festivities open with the Friday Night Super Bowl Bash featuring California group No Doubt, and Grammy Award-winning British singer/songwriter Sting. The show will be broadcast Friday night from the New Orleans Arena, with film, music and sports celebrities introducing the live performances.
On Super Bowl Sunday, the coverage starts early in the day, with several hours of pre-game festivities and performances before the actual kick-off at approximately 2330 UTC. In the afternoon, No Doubt will join Canada's Barenaked Ladies for the televised Tailgate Party in the Superdome parking lot. Once the crowd of 72,000 files into the stadium, the Boston Pops Orchestra, conducted by Keith Lockhart, will perform a selection of American classics, with highlighted works by Aaron Copland.
More than 130 million U.S. viewers are expected to tune into this Sunday's Super Bowl game, with an estimated audience of 800 million worldwide.
Advertisers unveil creative and high-tech commercials during the game, which is traditionally the most-watched U.S. television event of the year. In 1984, Apple Computers launched its Macintosh line with one of the most memorable ads in history. This year, the Fox TV network is charging approximately $2 million for every 30 seconds of commercial time.
During the Super Bowl, Pepsi will debut its latest commercial starring teen diva Britney Spears. Britney and her boyfriend, Justin Timberlake of the group 'N Sync, will host a Super Bowl party in New York City to benefit their children's charities.
As part of the pre-game show, former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney will join with 500 young people from 180 countries to lead a musical "tribute to the spirit of everyday heroes," with an emphasis on remembering those who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks. "As a sports fan, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in the Super Bowl, and as a musician, I an honored to add my voice to the message of tribute that this year's Super Bowl will carry," he said.
Mary J. Blige, the "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul" makes a return trip to the Super Bowl. Accompanied by the Boston Pops, she will join Latin pop star Marc Anthony for a version of America The Beautiful. The orchestra will remain on the field for the National Anthem.
This year, the vocal honors go to pop and R&B star Mariah Carey. She'll be performing under extreme personal pressure, after her well-publicized physical and emotional breakdown last year, and her recent split with her record label. The halftime show at this year's Super Bowl belongs to Irish rock band U2, who say they're avid fans of American football. The music video for their latest single, Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of, features a football player who misses the game-winning field goal as time runs out. Members of U2 haven't announced which songs they'll play, but the official Super Bowl website has been asking fans to vote for which tunes they'd like to hear.