Ever wonder how Floyd “Money” Mayweather became one of the world’s highest paid athletes? After a closer look at some savvy deal structuring and endorsements, the strategy behind the fighter’s consistent wealth accumulation became clearer.
Mayweather, who formerly had a contract with HBO pay-per-view, left to strike a deal with HBO rival Showtime in February of 2013. Mayweather negotiated a six fight, 30-month deal, making it the “richest individual athlete deal in all of sports.” Of course this was a major loss for HBO, whose previous nine Mayweather PPV events had generated 9.6 million buys and $543 million in television revenue.
How does Mayweather keep almost all of the revenue generated from the PPV events? He signs up sponsors for his fights who boost his PPV audience; this way he doesn’t have to sign any personal endorsement deals. Mayweather then collects all of the revenue from tickets, pay-per-view and sponsorships and covers the costs, including the purse for his opponent. Pretty cunning and lucrative if you ask me.
His first two fights under the new Showtime deal garnered Mayweather $34 million against Robert Guerrero and at least $80 million versus Canelo Alvarez, which was the biggest boxing event of 2013. Mayweather was guaranteed $41.5 million, but with all the revenue from PPV shares, he totaled more than $80 million for the Alvarez fight.
His next fight is this Saturday vs. Marcos “El Chino” Maidana, and is expected to be Las Vegas’ fourth largest live gate at $15 million. The fight guarantees Mayweather a minimum $32 million with Maidana pocketing, at minimum, $1.5 million. Each fighter will also share in pay-per-view revenue if the fight is a box-office success with the bulk of the proceeds flowing into Mayweather’s bank account. This fight marks the ninth straight fight where Mayweather will pocket at least $25 million.
The lopsided distribution of revenue is part of the deal Mayweather has negotiated, which has helped solidify him as the highest paid athlete in the world.
Mayweather has tried some self-promotion, hinting at the idea that this could be his last fight. However, since he still has three fights left on his Showtime deal, which should earn him in excess of $100 million, this is likely not the last time he’ll lace up his gloves.
Whether or not this is as big as the Canelo fight or a bust, Mayweather has found a way to consistently keep the cash flowing to his account.