How much do you think a singer whose halftime show scored the highest ratings in Super Bowl history would be worth?

Bruno Mars poses with awards at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards
Bruno Mars poses with awards at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV)

How about nothing? That’s what Bruno Mars was paid, along with anyone else who has ever performed at the big game.

Mars' audience was seen by 15.3 million viewers, which tops Madonna’s which had 114 million. Last year Beyonce drew 110 million. All three performers were not paid.

"We do not pay," NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told Forbes last year. "We cover all expenses associated with the performance."

The accompanying expenses, however, can add up.

Travel, lodging, setup, fees for backup dancers and musicians, pyrotechnics, glam squads, etc., can all balloon to millions of dollars.

But Mars’ big payment will come in the form of exposure.

"He’ll be playing what amounts to a 12-minute commercial for himself, which should boost sales for concert tickets, albums and merchandise," reports Forbes, who confirmed Mars, like his predecessors, will not be paid for this year's Super Bowl. "For context, a 30-second ad costs about $4 million this year."

All that money and they don’t pay the halftime show.

Marc Ganis, president of the consultancy Sportscorp, Ltd., further explains, "This is the kind of exposure that entertainers would give their right arm for … they could do 20 Leno and Letterman appearances and still not reach that [kind of] audience."

What’s next for this non profit organization known as the National Football League? How about making the players play for the exposure instead of money? I wouldn't be surprised if they considered that.