How much does it cost to book a world-famous musical act like Madonna? Not a dime, if you're organizing the Super Bowl. The Material Girl will be performing gratis on Sunday, but that's not unusual, Forbes explains: Super Bowl halftime performers almost never get paid. "This is the kind of exposure that entertainers would give their right arm for," says one consultant. "They could do 20 Leno and Letterman appearances and still not reach that audience."
The setup makes sense when you consider that Super Bowl commercials are getting pricier and pricier—Volkswagen recently paid a record $3.5 million for a 30-second spot—and Madonna has an upcoming album (MDNA) and movie (W.E.) to promote. And organizers do pick up the tab for things like backup dancers and pyrotechnics—which can cost millions. Performers "get so much out of it," the consultant says. "Frankly, it wouldn't shock me if, some day, the entertainers wind up paying the NFL." (Read more Super Bowl stories.)