Champion boxer Floyd "Money" Mayweather says he doesn't need Nike, Adidas or Under Armour logos on his back or boxing trunks to validate his brand. But if they're interested, the price starts at $1 million -- per fight.
"A brand on my back doesn't define my greatness. I don't feel like Nike has to make me. I don't feel like Adidas has to make me," said Mr. Mayweather at an event staged by his own Mayweather Promotions, Showtime and Golden Boy at the Vanderbilt Suites in midtown Manhattan Wednesday.
If a corporate sponsor wants to put a logo on his boxing trunks, it's "possible," said Mr. Mayweather. But the prices would start at "seven figures for 36 minutes," he said. Like other athletic endorsers such as Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning, Mr. Mayweather's looking for "ownership," not just a paycheck.
He questioned athletic sponsorships in general. If an opponent sports the Under Amour logo on his shirt or trunks, "does that make him a better fighter than me?" asked Mr. Mayweather. "Just because he's got Under Armour? And he's promoting a company?"
There's a reason why the 10-time world champion can talk smack about the corporate giants of the athletic sponsorship world. Mr. Mayweather's one of the rare jocks who doesn't have to chase endorsements dollars on Madison Avenue.
The 36-year old Mr. Mayweather will earn $90 million in 2013 -- without a single, current endorsement deal, according to Sports Illustrated's "Fortunate 50" ranking of the country's highest-earning athlete. (He's previously appeared in commercials for AT&T). That makes Mr. Mayweather (45-0, 26 KO's) the country's highest-earning athlete for the second year in a row.
Marketers, of course, tend toward the conservative, so they might not exactly rush to Mr. Mayweather, who can be a bit of a livewire. Just this past weekend he tweeted the proof that he'd bet $220,000 on a Texas A&M game.
The Super Welterweight earned a staggering $45.1 million for his Sep. 14 win over Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
That's more money in one night of boxing, according to SI, than will be earned all year in salary and endorsement earnings by Mr. Woods, who has deals with Nike, EA Sports and Rolex, or Mr. Manning, who pitches Papa John's Pizza, Gatorade and Buick.
With his win over Mr. Alvarez, Mr. Mayweather has completed the second fight of a 30-month, 6-fight deal with Showtime/CBS. As executive producer, Mr. Mayweather has worked with Showtime Sports to shrewdly create several "All Access" behind-the-scenes documentaries to build public interest before his upcoming fights. The result is a money machine.
Producing nearly $150 million in pay-per-view revenue, Mayweather vs. Canelo was the highest-grossing PPV bout of all time. That beat the $136 million in PPV revenue generated by Mayweather vs. Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
Stephen Espinoza, Showtime's exec VP-sports and event programming, said Mr. Mayweather's the biggest-drawing PPV fighter of all time, generating nearly $750 million in revenue over his 17-year career.