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Unbeaten Boxer Pioneers Ways to Make Money Hand Over Fist
Published: September 16, 2011
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Those streams include foreign sales for a fight broadcast in 168 territories; closed-circuit revenues (in 2,000 or so bars and restaurants nationwide, in theaters and in rooms at Las Vegas casinos); site revenue (ticket sales, merchandise); and sponsorships. Most boxers would see little, if any, of that money, whereas, Schaefer said: “All revenues here are Mayweather revenues. He gets part of everything.”
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Roger Federer does not make money off the sales of strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, nor does Derek Jeter’s contract include the Yankees’ TV contract in Asia. Mayweather has devised an altogether different model for marquee athletes.
But, under this model, the expenses are Mayweather expenses, too, including advertising (radio spots, print ads, TV commercials), publicity (press tours, news conferences), sanctioning fees, legal contracts and insurance. For a fight of this magnitude, Schaefer said the expenses would run about $10 million.
First, Mayweather will write himself a check this week in the neighborhood of $25 million. This is similar, in concept, to the guaranteed money that other fighters receive from their promoters, but the check is much larger. Besides Mayweather, only Manny Pacquiao would command that much. What Mayweather earns in addition depends on the success of the event.
If 1.4 million or 1.5 million fans buy the fight — which is expected — Mayweather will make about $40 million, Schaefer said.
For comparison, consider Pacquiao. For his coming November fight, Top Rank has guaranteed $22 million and a percentage of other revenue for a total of $30 million, said Bob Arum, chairman of Top Rank. If the fight is canceled because of a natural disaster, for example, Pacquiao will still make $22 million, whereas Mayweather would stand to lose much of his total earnings.
Because Mayweather has averaged about 1.5 million pay-per-view buys in his last four fights, and because no natural disaster has wiped out any boxing event in recent memory, he considers his risk quite low. Even Arum, Mayweather’s stated nemesis, conceded “there’s no loss, only profit.” He added: “In the end, it may be less than the guarantee, but it’s all profit.”
Arum and others, however, believe that there is value in promotion and that Mayweather would make even more if he ceded total control. Mayweather disagrees, and even says the formula can be duplicated by other fighters — for a fee, of course.
“That’s going to cost you!” he said.