With the Super Bowl coming up, sports are on the general public's mind, while the championship ring -- and perhaps money -- are on the minds of the members of the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.
After Super Bowl LI, each member of the winning team will get a $97,000 bonus, while each member of the losing team will get a $49,000 bonus, according to the National Football League.
Of course, that amount of money may not be significant for players who can rack up millions with their salaries (the rookie minimum is $450,000), endorsement deals and business ventures.
Some would say athletes turn into entrepreneurs because they have the money to do so. But a less cynical reason is because sports and business both require perseverance, according to a LinkedIn blog post by British billionaire and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.
"Tennis, like business, moves so quickly that if you dwell on the past for even a few minutes, an opportunity will have passed and the moment will be lost," he writes.
In addition, both sports and business offer an opportunity to redeem yourself, Branson said, again referencing tennis. "Lose a tie break? Another set is coming up to change your game. Miss an important opportunity to invest or get an idea off the ground? Another opportunity will present itself soon enough."
This correlation between sports and business is important for top athletes because they have short careers and long retirements, Branson noted.
A number of athletes go on to create successful businesses -- sometimes earning more off the field than they did on the field from salaries or Super Bowl bonus checks. But as Branson said, most athletes try investing in multiple businesses before landing the hot ticket.
For ex-athletes looking to get in on the game of business, Branson has some advice: "Treat business like sport -- follow your passions, keep an open mind to new opportunities and refuse to take no for an answer."
Here at TheStreet we've compiled a list, in no particular order, of some of the most successful athletes-turned-entrepreneurs. Happy Super Bowl LI!
1. George Foreman, George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine
Two-time world heavyweight champion, Olympic gold medalist and ordained Baptist minister George Foreman is the face behind the Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine, made famous by its infomercials that used the tagline, "It's so good I put my name on it!"
While he was thought to have earned $200 million for his partnership with Salton, the original manufacturer of the grill, he recently disputed that in a 2014 interview with AARP, claiming the estimate is actually low.
"Much more," he said. "There were months I was being paid $8 million per month."
In addition, he sold his naming rights to Salton in 1999 for $137.5 million. Spectrum Brands (SPB) purchased Salton's successor in 2010.
Foreman might have passed on the opportunity if it wasn't for his wife, who made him an unforgettable burger on it.
"The grease, everything went away, and the meat was delicious," Foreman told CNBC in 2010. "So I called my partners back and said, 'I'm going to do that deal.'"
2. Maria Sharapova, Sugarpova
Tennis star Maria Sharapova, 29, launched her own candy line, Sugarpova, in 2012 and added a chocolate line in May 2016.
"Being healthy is one of the biggest priorities as a professional athlete. But on the other hand, I also know that everyone loves sweets, including myself," Sharapova said in an interview on CNBC in 2015.
The winner of five Grand Slam tennis titles tested positive for meldonium, which increases blood flow, at the Australian Open in 2016. She subsequently was banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation before the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced that ban by nine months.
Sharapova is set to return to the courts for the first time in 15 months on April 26 at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany.
3. Peyton Manning, Papa John's
Former Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning signed a deal in 2012 to own 21 Papa John's (PZZA) franchises around the Denver area, where he lives with his wife and their twins, a boy and a girl.
"Pizza business is pretty good out here, believe it or not, due to some recent law changes," he told Sports Illustrated in 2014 in reference to the state's recent marijuana legalization.
The investment also was part of Manning's long-term retirement plan. "It's a smart investment now and will be long after I'm done playing football," he said in a 2012 interview with the Associated Press.
Manning announced his retirement last March, shortly after the Broncos triumphed in Super Bowl 50. The first person the quarterback celebrated with after sealing the career-ending victory? Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter.
Over his 18-season career Manning made an estimated $400 million, the most of any NFL player in history, Forbes reported. That sum includes salary, bonuses, endorsements and licensing. Manning had endorsement deals with Nike (NKE) , General Motors' Buick (GM) , AT&T's DirecTV (T) , Pepsi's Gatorade (PEP) and Papa John's, among others.
4. John Elway, steakhouses
Retired Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, now the team's general manager, owns four steakhouses in Colorado simply named Elway's.
"I've never relied on [my] name," Elway told the Associated Press. "I've always relied on the product we're selling and our people that are doing it, our managers, our operators, and they're the ones that carry the torches as far as philosophy."
Elway is one of many former athletes to get into the restaurant business, with former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula, retired Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, former Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young and ex-Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre among the many with at least one steakhouse.
Elway, though, has been a part of numerous other business ventures, including a number of investments in the auto industry. He sold five John Elway automotive dealerships to AutoNation (AN) in 1997 for $82.5 million. He has purchased a number of dealerships from big names such as Toyota (TM) , Chevrolet (GM) and Chrysler (FCAU) . In 2015, he invested in online used car marketplace start-up Vroom, which raised $50 million in its latest funding round late last year.
"With the millennials coming up and all the shopping they do online, we're hoping that that's the next step," he told CNBC.
5. Venus Williams, EleVen
Venus Williams may have lost to her sister, Serena Williams, this past weekend in the Australian Open final, but she's still winning big in business. The seven-time Grand Slam champion is the founder and CEO of athletic clothing line EleVen, launched in 2007.
She picked the name out because "it represents being better than a 10," Williams told CBS (CBS) in 2014.
The tennis star previously studied fashion design at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. "Obviously after school, everyone dreams of having their own line," she told racked.com. "I was already an athlete, so activewear spoke to my soul."
Williams also started an interior design company, V-Starr Interiors, back in 2002. She said starting the company was "like when you get to make your own choice about what you love." While she loves tennis, that path was picked out for her by her dad.
6. Magic Johnson
Former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Earvin "Magic" Johnson has made a series of wise investments since retiring in November 1991 after learning he was HIV positive.
In March 2012, his bidding group bought the Los Angeles Dodgers out of bankruptcy from Frank McCourt for $2 billion. In February 2014, the same investment group bought the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks in conjunction with the controlling owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Guggenheim Partners' Mark R. Walter.
Previously, Johnson had bought 4.5% of the Lakers for $10 million in 1994 and built 105 Starbucks (SBUX) locations in a 50-50 deal with the coffee retailer. He sold both investments in 2010 for a reported $100 million.
"I've always wanted to be a business man, and I think what really helped me was that Dr. [Jerry] Buss was a great owner [of the Lakers]. He knew what my goals and dreams were. He opened up the Lakers to me to teach me business," Johnson told Fortune in 2014.
The Starbucks stores were owned through his investment conglomerate, Magic Johnson Enterprises, which he founded in 1987 and has owned various businesses over the years, including movie theaters, Burger King stores, TGI Friday's restaurants and 24-Hour Fitness/Magic Johnson Sport health clubs.
7. Tony Hawk, Birdhouse Skateboards
X Games competitor Tony Hawk, or "The Birdman," was the first skateboarder to land a "900," or 2-1/2 midair revolutions.
He teamed up with fellow pro skateboarder Per Welinder to found skateboard company Birdhouse Projects (now Birdhouse Skateboards) in 1992, with the name referencing Hawk's nickname. Both men put up $40,000, with Hawk having to take out a second mortgage on his house to do so.
"It seemed insane, but I wanted to be in control of my destiny," Hawk told entrepreneur.com in 2009.
Since the skating community was small, the company didn't have to work too hard to become a dominant player in the market, he said.
In addition, Hawk is well-known for his popular skateboarding video games series made by Activision (ATVI) , who signed with him in 1998. The latest release, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, came out in September 2015.
"I was weighing my options when I went to Activision, but when I saw what they were working on, I said, 'This is exactly what I'd love to be involved with,' and following that gut reaction was hugely successful," Hawk told entrepreneur.com.
8. Roger Staubach, Staubach Co.
Retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, also known as "Captain America," has a pair of Super Bowl wins, an MVP award from Super Bowl VI and a real estate firm under his belt.
Staubach worked in real estate during the offseasons and eventually learned enough to open his own firm, Staubach Co., in 1977, two years before he retired.
"I was 27, and we had three children," Staubach told Forbes in 2014. "If I got hurt, I knew I had a family to provide for, and it was not crazy money in the NFL then."
In 2008, Staubach Co. had 50 North American offices and 1,000 employees, when Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL) acquired the company for $613 million. At the time, Staubach owned 12% of the company.
Staubach now is executive chairman for JLL's American arm.