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Super Bowl Sunday is Here!

Crowded Super Bowl stadium concourse as the Super Bowl 50 football game is about to start Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (photo: P. Brewer/VOA)

The stage is set for a Super Bowl to remember as Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos taking on NFL MVP Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, in what could be the final game of Manning's sensational career.

Security is heavy and visible around Super Bowl locations, from hotels in San Francisco to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, where the game is to be played beginning at mid-afternoon local time (23:30 UTC). Drones are banned around the stadium and there are widespread flight restrictions in the area.

Fans are holding gold tickets for the Super Bowl 50 football game, San Francisco, California, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (photo: P. Brewer/VOA)
Fans are holding gold tickets for the Super Bowl 50 football game, San Francisco, California, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (photo: P. Brewer/VOA)

San Francisco itself will not have a large-scale public viewing spot downtown, unlike when the city offered such opportunities for the baseball San Francisco Giants' World Series championship runs in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

This year's National Football League championship game features two dominant and different defenses. It is the first time in 50 Super Bowls that the team that led the league in takeaways (Carolina) meets the team that allowed the fewest yards (Denver).

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TV viewing

Super Bowl Sunday is as close as its gets to a national holiday in the United States that is not actually a holiday. People across the country gather with friends and family at house parties and bars to watch the game, making for huge television ratings.

Last year's game brought in 114 million viewers in the United States, making it the most watched program in history. The next five programs on that list also are Super Bowls. According to the Nielsen research service, 71 percent of all people watching TV during last year's Super Bowl were tuned to the game.

Non-football fans also tune in to see the halftime show that has included some of the world's biggest musical acts. Past years have featured Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, U2, Prince and Gloria Estefan. This year, Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars will take the stage.

The television broadcast has another element, the commercials, which people talk about before and after the event. It is a chance for companies to reach more consumers than at any other time, and they spend big money producing ads they hope will be among the favorites of the night. The cost to get those commercials on television also spikes to levels unseen at any other time. This year, companies are paying about $5 million for 30 seconds of air time.