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Floyd Mayweather & The Art Of Self-Promotion

Alex Kirwan provides an insight into the earnings of Floyd Mayweather and how the boxer is reaping the rewards of self-promotion.

Have you ever wondered how much the movers and shakers in sport get paid? How much they take home? What their agent or promoter receives?

Take ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson for example. In his career he amassed a huge $300 million but yet in 2003 he declared bankruptcy.

Granted Tyson did go a small bit over the top but who wouldn’t want a $2 million bathtub to wash their Bengal tiger in?  But Mike Tyson’s problems stem not only from his excessive spending habits but also from the company he kept.

Don King was Mike Tyson’s promoter.  He is possibly the most famous boxing promoter of all time.  Mike Tyson sued King for $100 million, eventually settling for €14 million outside court. Now you must be thinking, big deal it’s America, that’s what they do, but King, the man responsible for ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ has been sued by Mohamed Ali, Mike Tyson, and Lennox Lewis to name just a few, all for the same reason – getting underpaid for fights.

Don King, the promoter of all the above plus other big names seems to have come out on top financially. Why? Because in the boxing world the fighter’s agent looks after the fighter’s contracts, the fighter’s manager looks after the fighter’s interests and the fighter’s promoter looks after the promoter.

Mike Tyson is destined to spend the rest of his days signing books and doing talk show interviews to maintain a steady income. He was at one time the most feared man in the ring and now he must “dance for his dollars”.

He has strong opinions about Don:

“(King is) a wretched, slimy, reptilian motherfu#kr. This is supposed to be my ‘black brother’, right? He’s just a bad man, a real bad man. He would kill his own mother for a dollar. He’s ruthless, he’s deplorable, he’s greedy and he doesn’t know how to love anybody.”

However, current undisputed pound-for-pound champion of the world, Floyd Mayweather will not be having the same issues as Mike Tyson.  Why? Because Floyd “Money” Mayweatherdoes it all. He is his own promoter, he does his own PR and although he does endorse, he only endorses one thing – himself.

As well as being considered one of the greatest to grace the canvas, the 37-year-old boxer is undoubtedly one of the shrewdest business men in the world. Known for his lavish lifestyle lived through social media outlets such as Instagram where he has 3.5 million followers, Floyd requires the full $105 million he made in 2013 to maintain his lifestyle.

How does Mayweather do this?

In February 2013 he signed a deal worth over $200 million with Showtime, an American premium cable channel for six fights. The first three fights of this contract have had an average of 1.35 million pay-per-view (PPV) purchases with his blockbuster against Canelo Alvarez tipping the scales at 2.2 million PPV purchases. This fight knocked out all PPV sports records with revenue reported at $150 million.

Mayweather is scheduled to fight Marcos Maidana on the 13th of September this year.  It is reported that he is guaranteed to earn $41.5 million for this fight, but could make closer to $100. Maidana on the other hand will earn closer to $5 million- not money to turn your nose up at but how has Mayweather achieved this asymmetrical payment?

He is the best and everyone wants to see the best in action but, as his own promoter, he is in charge of setting up and paying for everything involved in his boxing matches. Mayweather ensures all the legal requirements are met every step of the way. He assumes all financial risk associated with the event.  This in effect means he has to guarantee the costs are met and when we talk about costs, we’re talking about every single thing involved in a fighting event, from the plastic cups the beer is served in, chairs for each corner of the ring,  ring-girl,  referee, ticket sales, advertising, licenses and making sure the scales used for the weigh-in are properly calibrated.

The biggest skill involved in being a great promoter is knowing how to market and advertise a fight so that it appeals to the broadest possible demographic. Mayweather excels in this regard. In the past he has had 50 cent, Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne walk out to his entrance songs with him. This alone draws huge attention to the events.

Mayweather also has had spats with half of the entertainment world online. However, he is not a keyboard warrior, outlined by his recent confrontation with rapper T.I. in Las Vegas.

Because of these “well planned” spontaneous arguments, Mayweather is never out of the limelight which is only beneficial for his fight night numbers – “there is no such thing as bad publicity”.

It may appear that being your own promoter attracts greater risks but with the experience Mayweather has, you can be certain everything will run like clockwork. Also with an estimated net worth approaching $400 million, he can afford the risk.

While other sports starts rely on endorsements, Mayweather relies on himself. You can be sure the MGM Grand will be packed to the rafters with people wanting to see a “Money” Mayweather win.  He does live the American dream after all.

Alex Kirwan, Pundit Arena

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