Letters, June 7, 2010

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Mayweather doesn't need marketer endorsements

RE: "Mayweather Has Everything -- but Endorsements" (AA, May 17)

Floyd Mayweather has generated the most pay-per-view buys and highest revenue per fight.

He has produced more mainstream sponsor interest from brands such as AT&T, McDonald's, Powerade & Vitamin Water, Southwest Airlines and DeWALT Tools than any other fighter in the history of the sport.

He has developed his own unique brand that benefits from all revenue streams associated with his fights, earning him $65 million dollars in his last two fights alone.

The assessment made by Marc Ganis, who has never worked in the sport, is off-base. His comments on the "lack of interest" stemming from decades of corruption and self-dealing is an old adage used years ago and no longer stands true. Would the likes of sponsors such as AT&T, DeWALT Tools and McDonald's be involved in boxing if that truly were the case? There is more sponsor activity today than ever before.

The sport has never before seen the likes of the marketing support for its big-time events and A-list fighters, of which Floyd Mayweather leads the pack. And as the face of boxing, Floyd is the one driving this interest and increased sponsor participation.

With Floyd, you cannot look at his appeal in and out of the ring the old-fashioned way, or focus on individual endorsements. Unlike any other athlete, Floyd Mayweather has a unique business model. This opportunity allows him to share in 100% of the revenue generated by his fights. In essence, he works for himself and is his own franchise and brand. For example, if a brand wanted to sponsor the NBA, LeBron James would not share in the revenue generated by the sponsorship but rather only receive his already agreed upon salary. That goes for the other players in the NBA as well as the NFL, MLB, NHL and PGA.

In Floyd's case, not only does he receive his guaranteed earnings for each of his fights, he also benefits from pay-per-view sales (1.4 million buys and $78.3 million in revenue for his last fight), site and international right-holders fees, ticket sales ($11 million for his last fight), merchandise sales and event sponsorships. In addition, Floyd as a brand is getting exposure through advertising, POS displays and nationwide sponsor activation. In return, he extends his likeness, his fights sell more and his earnings increase.

As far as comparing Floyd to Manny Pacquiao, it is hard to say Manny stands anywhere near Floyd's successes. In fact, Floyd has made more money in his last two fights than Pacquiao has made in his whole career. Pacquiao has sponsorships in the Phillipines and broad-base island appeal, but when it comes to earning power and marketability stateside, those sponsorships are insignificant.

Floyd, not interested in endorsements just to say he has sponsors, has in fact turned down a number of opportunities because the deals were not right. When you earn what he does for one night of work, 36 minutes in the ring, he can be selective in this process. Floyd has already established himself as a huge personality with crossover appeal, and he has a far wider reach than was suggested in the article. The way brands are doing business today is changing rapidly and endorsement deals can come in a variety of opportunities. In Floyd's case, anything associated with him or one of his fights is money in his bank.

FDA plan leaves too much room for interpretation

RE: "FDA Deputizes Doctors to Police 'Bad' RX Drug Ads" (AA, May 24).

[The article] raises several additional issues worth noting, given our recent conversation at the American Academy of Advertising conference in Minneapolis. Terms like "misleading" and "deceptive" have been shown to mean different things to different individuals. And, while you include a sidebar with casual [definitions] of "misleading," it's important to underscore that consumer-protection enforcement initiatives in this area must derive from the actual impact such ads can be shown to have on consumers. For example, attorneys or medical doctors might argue simply that just being exposed to an ad is sufficient to adversely impact a consumer, while consumer researchers understand that consumers may be impacted on a number of levels (did they read the ad, understand it, believe what it says, and/or act upon it?).

If the FDA is to validly "police" potentially misleading ads like the FTC does, the FDA must either enlist consumer researchers or defer to an objective, external entity with consumer-research expertise. Given administrative law judges' preference for empirical evidence, the FDA will undoubtedly be unable to enforce any pre-review concerns over misleading advertising without such research expertise on consumer impact.

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