No matter which team wins Super Bowl 50 next weekend -- the Denver Broncos or Carolina Panthers -- they're both profiting handsomely playing what's by far America's most popular professional sport. Football franchises have soared in value in recent years, and star players have become formidable brands in their own right, thanks to lucrative endorsement deals.
According to Forbes, the Broncos' value has surged from $78 million in 1984, when its current owner Patrick Bowlen acquired it, to nearly $2 billion today. The Panthers' value has also skyrocketed, from $206 million in 1993 to $1.56 billion today.
The Super Bowl is often the most-watched TV show in a given year, which in the fractured media environment has become increasingly valuable to advertisers. The big game is famously the TV show that even people who don't care about the show make sure they see the Super Bowl commercials.
This year's game also features a dramatic quarterback battle between Denver veteran Peyton Manning, who has struggled this year and has hinted he may retire after the game, and brash upstart Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers, who's high on the short list of Most Valuable Player candidates this year.
Super Bowl 50 is on Sunday, Feb. 7 on CBS.
Owner: Patrick Bowlen
Franchise value: $1.94 billion, according to Forbes (up 34 percent over the past year)
Annual revenue: $346 million (up 15 percent)
Operating income: $65.8 million (up 119 percent)
Gate receipts: $70 million (includes club seats)
Waiting list for season tickets: More than 63,000 names.
Owner: Jerry Richardson
Franchise value: $1.56 billion, according to Forbes (up 25 percent over the past year)
Annual revenue: $325 million (up 15 percent)
Operating income: $77.8 million (up 39 percent)
Gate receipts: $65 million
Season ticket sales: More than 62,000 personal seat licenses, which provide exclusive rights to buy season tickets
Draft pick: First round, 1998
Salary: $15 million, according to Forbes
Endorsement income: $12 million
Business interests: Papa John's (PZZA), where he's also owns 32 stores in the Denver area; DirecTV (DTV); Nationwide Insurance
Licensed merchandise sales rank: 5, according to the NFL Players Association
Manning leads the NFL in endorsement income, and it's easy to see why. According to Q-Scores, which rates the likability of celebrities for advertisers among others, his reputation transcends the sport.
About 70 percent of the public knows who Manning is, and of those who were surveyed, 24 percent of those who are familiar with him said he's one of their favorites personalities, also known as his Q-Score. The average athlete has a Q-Score of 17 percent.
Draft pick: First round, 2011
Salary: $20 million per season
Endorsement income: $11 million, according to ESPN; Dannon Oikos yogurt, Gatorade, Beats by Dre, Under Armour (UA), L'Oreal's Drakkar fragrance
Licensed merchandise sales rank: 22, according to the NFL Players Association
Newton has nearly caught up to Manning in terms of endorsements. His 2011 deal with Under Armour was a record for a rookie, and it looks like money well spent. According to ESPN, sales for Newton's signature Under Armour C1N Highlight cleats doubled in 2015. Newtown also reportedly is developing a children's TV show with Nickelodeon.
With a Q-Score of 17 percent, Newton isn't in the same league as Manning when it comes to likability. And only 32 percent of the public has heard of Newton, not even half of Manning's score.