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Ameriquest to be Super sponsor
Mortgage lender to pay $15M to sponsor Super Bowl halftime; up from $10M last season.
October 7, 2004: 2:54 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The halftime show of February's Super Bowl will be sponsored by Ameriquest Mortgage, which will pay about 50 percent more than America Online did to sponsor last season's controversial show.

The controversy over last season's Super Bowl halftime show hasn't scared off Ameriquest from paying a record price to sponsor this year's show.  
The controversy over last season's Super Bowl halftime show hasn't stopped Ameriquest from paying a record price to sponsor the February 2005 show.

The National Football League and Ameriquest announced the sponsorship agreement Thursday, although a price was not disclosed. But a source familiar with the agreement said that it was a $15 million sponsorship deal, compared to the $10 million paid last season by America Online.

For its $15 million, Ameriquest also sponsors fan-balloting for the Pro Bowl, which is played a week after the Super Bowl, and it sponsored the Opening Kickoff show that preceded the league's opening game on Sept. 9. AOL, like CNN/Money a unit of Time Warner (TWX: Research, Estimates), did not have either of those sponsorships last year.

But the halftime show is the center of the sponsorship agreement. The halftime show at this past February's game included singer Janet Jackson's breast being briefly exposed in a now-infamous "wardrobe malfunction."

That show prompted widespread criticisms, including from the NFL, apologies from broadcaster CBS and a proposed fine of $550,000 from the Federal Communications Commission.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the producer and entertainers for the 2005 halftime show have yet to be determined. It is also not yet decided whether Fox, which will broadcast both the game and the halftime show, will use a 5-second delay for any or all of that broadcast -- a device to protect against unexpected profanity of other questionable material being broadcast. He did say that the NFL would exercise more oversight of the halftime show's content than it did last year.

NBC announced Thursday that it would start using a 5-second delay on its Nascar broadcasts so that it could do interviews with drivers, crew chiefs and team owners during the race broadcasts.

Privately held Ameriquest is the nation's sixth largest mortgage lender. It has 270 retail offices throughout the country, more than 40 of which are in its home state of California.

Its statement did not directly mention the controversy with last year's show, although it did quote senior executive vice president Adam Bass as saying: "The NFL is a terrific partner, because of its broad national audience, deep fan base and its renewed commitment to provide an entertainment product that appeals to the American values of home and family."

This season's kickofff show in early September, which included performances by Mary J. Blige, Destiny's Child, Elton John, Toby Keith, Lenny Kravitz and Jessica Simpson, went off without any incident.

Ameriquest Mortgage
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Entertainment (general)

Super Bowl XXXIX will be held in Jacksonville, Fla., on Feb. 6.  Top of page

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