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NFL aligns with Roc Nation for live music, social justice initiatives

The National Football League has struck a long-term alliance with Roc Nation in which the entertainment company formed by hip-hop star and mogul Jay-Z will serve as the league’s official live music entertainment strategists. Roc Nation will also aid the NFL on its involvement in various social justice issues.

The partnership will see Roc Nation play a key role in not only helping the league construct the Super Bowl halftime show, the league’s marquee entertainment showcase, but its other music performances at tentpole events.

The two entities will also collaborate to create and distribute music across multiple streaming services, opening up a potential new revenue source for the NFL. Content initiatives being contemplated include the development of original music, the release of archival and current material from live NFL music events, and artist podcasts. The entertainment push also arrives as the NFL this year celebrates its 100th season.

The social justice component, meanwhile, will see Roc Nation helping support the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative, which debuted last year and seeks to promote education and economic advancement, improved police and community relations, and criminal justice reform.

“Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas – instead, we unify them,” said Jay-Z, who was born Shawn Carter. “This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, already one of the most influential figures within the league, is said to have played a key role in helping form the alliance. 

Jay-Z’s partnership with the league is also notable given his public support for former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in 2016 created nationwide debate by kneeling during the national anthem seeking to draw attention to police brutality and systemic oppression of minorities. Kaepernick has gone unsigned since the end of that season, and pursued a collusion grievance against the league. That grievance was settled earlier this year for an undisclosed financial amount.