Everything You Need to Know About the 2019 Super Bowl Halftime Show

Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi are all set to perform during the Super Bowl LIII Pepsi Halftime Show

Millions will tune in to Super Bowl LIII on Sunday to watch the Los Angeles Rams face off against the New England Patriots, but for many, it’s more than just a sporting event.

The annual Pepsi Halftime Show has always been a big draw for viewers as it features the biggest talent in the music industry, and given the controversy surrounding the performance this year, it’s sure to be a particularly exciting one.

Here is everything you need to know ahead of the big show.

When Is It?

Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 3. While it’s hard to say the exact time that the halftime show will start, it will take place after the game’s first two 15-minute quarters are over.

Who’s Performing?

Maroon 5 will be bringing their moves like Jagger to headline the show this year, and they will be backed by Travis Scott and Outkast rapper Big Boi.

Before the band, as well as Scott and Big Boi, were officially confirmed for the show earlier in January, frontman Adam Levine played coy when asked by Ellen DeGeneres about the rumors that they had signed on for the performance during an appearance on her show in November.

“It’s a great event, and there’s gonna be a band performing — or an artist of some kind, at halftime and it’s gonna be great regardless of who it is,” he said. “Whoever is lucky enough to get that gig is probably gonna crush it … Whoever does it is probably equal parts nervous and excited. This is all speculative cause I don’t know who I’m talking about.”

Travis Scott and Adam Levine. Taylor Hill/Getty; Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty

Why Is the Performance Controversial?

This year, the halftime show has ignited a cultural firestorm as more than 111,000 people and counting have signed a Change.org petition asking Maroon 5 — and others — to back out of the event to support Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the #TakeAKnee movement to protest racial injustices.

“Kaepernick risked his career to take a knee for equality, and the NFL punished him for it,” the petition reads. “Until the league changes their policy and support players’ constitutional right to protest, no artists should agree to work with the NFL. Join me in asking Maroon 5 to drop out of the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show.”

The petition mentions Rihanna, who reportedly turned down the opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl.

“Yes, they asked her, and yes, she declined,” a source told PEOPLE in October, noting that her choice was likely intended to support Kaepernick.

After the news broke about Rihanna, and while Maroon 5 was still just rumored to headline at the time, Amy Schumer posted on Instagram in October with the caption, “Wouldn’t it be so cool if @adamlevine and @maroon5 stepped down too? What do you guys think?”

The following day, Schumer wrote, “I think it would be cool if @maroon5 backed out of super bowl like @badgalriri Did. I personally told my reps I wouldn’t do a Super Bowl commercial this year. I know it must sound like a privilege ass sacrifice but it’s all i got. Hitting the nfl with the advertisers is the only way to really hurt them.”

On Jan. 14, Scott said he only agreed to perform at the event on the condition that the NFL would join him in a joint donation of $500,000 to Dream Corps, a nonprofit organization that champions social justice.

“I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in,” Scott said in a statement to PEOPLE at the time. “I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change.”

Then on Jan. 15, Variety reported Scott had a phone conversation with Kaepernick about his decision to perform at the halftime show, citing a source close to Scott who said “while the two did not necessarily agree, they emerged from the conversation with mutual respect and understanding.” TMZ confirmed the call occurred, reporting that Scott reached out to Kaepernick prior to signing the Super Bowl contract to discuss his plans and hopefully get the quarterback on board. Though TMZ reported the conversation didn’t lead to an agreement, sources told the outlet the conversation was “cordial and not hostile.”

colin kaepernick _travis scott
Colin Kaepernick and Travis Scott. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

It soon became apparent, though, that Scott and Kaepernick were not on the same page. After the Variety report was published, Kaepernick’s girlfriend Nessa and radio host pal (and Nessa’s colleague) Ebro Darden took to Twitter to slam Scott, with Kaepernick retweeting their sentiments.

“Kap did not approve this bulls—! Get the f— outta here….” Darden wrote in response to the story. In her first of a string of tweets, Nessa wrote, “If you’re with them, then you are definitely not with us,” alongside a screenshot of an Urban Dictionary definition of “sell out.”

The next day, Nessa responded to another tweet about the alleged conversation between Kaepernick and Scott.

“There is NO mutual respect and there is NO understanding for anyone working against @Kaepernick7 PERIOD. #stoplying,” she wrote.

Following Scott’s lead, Maroon 5 announced on Tuesday that they, along with the NFL and Interscope Records, will make a $500,000 contribution to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America ahead of their performance.

“Playing the Super Bowl has been a dream of our band for a long time,” Levine told PEOPLE in a statement. “We thank the NFL for the opportunity and also to them, along with Interscope Records, for making this donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters, which will have a major impact for children across the country.”

Maroon 5Credit: Travis Schneider
Travis Schneider

Earlier in January, Maroon 5 keyboardist PJ Morton shared his thoughts with PEOPLE about the controversy.

“I think there are plenty of people — a lot of the players, to be honest — who support Kap and also do their job for the NFL,” Morton said. “I think we’re doing the same thing. We can support being against police brutality against black and brown people and be in support of being able to peacefully protest and still do our jobs. We just want to have a good time and entertain people while understanding the important issues that are at hand.”

“We’re not focusing on the negative now [while] being aware, being open, and definitely not ignoring the voices,” he continued. “But we’re definitely not focusing on the things that don’t help, that are counter-productive. We’re blocking out the noise. We’re just doing what we do. We look to have a good time.”

What Can We Expect?

When asked whether the band will make some kind of statement during the performance, Morton played coy: “We’ll see, man,” he said previously. “We got some time before we get there, and whatever we do, I’m going to stand behind [it] and be proud to be up there doing what I do. I want to make sure we get the show down, and that’s the matter at hand right now.”

Airbnb Open LA - Headlining Act: Maroon 5
Maroon 5. Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Airbnb

Further heightening the mystery around what viewers can expect from the halftime show, the NFL announced on Tuesday that Maroon 5 will not participate in a press conference ahead of their performance like former headlining acts have done in years past.

A representative for the NFL told PEOPLE in a statement, “Maroon 5 has been working hard on a Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show that will meet and exceed the standards of this event. As it is about music, the artists will let their show do the talking as they prepare to take the stage this Sunday.”

“Starting with the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show announcement, we began a cross-platform rollout of behind-the-scenes footage and content from each of the halftime performers,” the statement continued. “Instead of hosting a press conference, this social and digital media rollout will continue through Sunday across our owned and operated media assets as well as through the platforms of the artists.”

How Can I Watch?

The Super Bowl LIII Pepsi Halftime Show will air live on CBS from the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Atlanta. The show can be streamed for free on CBSSports.com or on the CBS Sports App.

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