Every Floyd Mayweather fight comes with the inevitable jokes about "that's why they call him 'Money'" when his disclosed purse numbers are released. Mayweather's record $41.5 million purse for Saturday's bout with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, however, is even more eye-popping than usual.
Mayweather has made no secret in recent years that he gets paid for much more than just that disclosed amount. Floyd also gets a percentage of each pay-per-view sold and, with a chance that this breaks the all-time pay-per-view buy record, that's not going to be a small chunk of change. Floyd also regularly brags that he gets a cut of every ticket, hot dog, beer, t-shirt, etc., sold during the event.
There are enough extra revenue streams for Mayweather that the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Leonard Ellerbe, tells Yahoo! Sports that the world's best pound-for-pound fighter could end up with a nine-figure payday:
"Listen, if this fight goes through the roof, Floyd Mayweather could make $100 million in this fight as sure as we're standing here talking," Ellerbe said.
That seems virtually impossible given the math. For the sake of argument, assume an average purchase price of $70, since the HD version is $74.95 and the standard definition version is $64.95. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said sales skew slightly in favor of the high definition version.
And further, assume that the fight sells three million pay-per-views, which would beat the existing record by 25 percent and doesn't seem possible.
That would generate $210 million in net revenue. In pay-per-view, half of that money goes to the cable, satellite and telephone companies that distribute the fight. That would mean the promotion would net $105 million out of the pay-per-view sales. To get to $100 million, Mayweather would have to earn $58 million in pay-perview revenue out of that $105 million.
But Ellerbe insisted he was telling the truth, even if he wasn't divulging details.
"I don't want to get into all of the specifics," he said, but he wouldn't back down on that figure.
In a great piece at Bleacher Report, Jonathan Snowden was able to get Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer to open up about the way an event this size works (and how purses this size get paid). He made it clear that this isn't going to be a fight that brings in tons of money for Golden Boy, but it'll be good for the company and the fighters:
"On a Mayweather fight, we have extremely thin margins," Schaefer said. "Somebody asked me the other day if we were going to make $10 million. I said 'Are you crazy?' No way. A fraction of that. Which is OK. Golden Boy is doing about 100 televised events a year. We are making our money with volume, like Walmart or Costco. They can sell their merchandise for less.
"It's been a key to our success attracting fighters. Because we have such great volume and work on such small margins, we are able to put more money in the fighters' pockets. And who doesn't like that?"
Similarly, the decision by Showtime to create a massive deal to bring Mayweather to the network and away from long-time home HBO was as much about helping to establish Showtime's place in the sport as it was about making tons of money off of Mayweather's deal.
It's all about long-term positioning when it comes to a fighter like Floyd who costs so much money just to be in business with.