February 15, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

If Britney Spears landed $1 million for her Pepsi-through-the-generations ads, how much did U2’s rousing two-song Super Bowl stint cost the NFL? Not a thing. According to a source, Mariah Carey, Paul McCartney, and U2 didn’t get a dime for their live performances on the Feb. 3 telecast, though the NFL did pick up travel expenses (and it’s not like these folks fly JetBlue). Interestingly, U2 weren’t the NFL’s first choice—Janet Jackson was reportedly booked for the halftime extravaganza. Then, after the Sept. 11 attacks, a group of team owners and league officials visited New York City for NFL meetings and attended a U2 concert at Madison Square Garden. Impressed by the socially conscious rockers and concerned about setting the right tone for Super Bowl festivities, they offered U2 the prime pre-Grammy gig—and in the process got a stadium-size bargain. Says one NFL insider: ”We would have paid U2, but they didn’t want any money.” (The band’s publicist had no comment.)

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