If I were a betting man -- which I'm not -- I'd put all my money on Floyd Mayweather to defeat Conor McGregor this Saturday night. Shoot, while irrational optimism is a hallmark trait of many successful people (without self-belief, it's impossible to do incredibly difficult things), I imagine even the supremely confident McGregor harbors at least a few doubts.
But while they won't know the actual payout until after the fight, what neither Mayweather nor McGregor has to worry about is whether he'll be well compensated for his efforts.
Let's start with pay-per-view revenue. In the U.S., viewers will pay $99 for HD and $89 for SD to watch.
Two years ago, when Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao, more than four million PPV buys resulted in close to $400 million in revenue. Assuming a similar buy rate -- my guess is it will be at least that high, since there is considerable MMA crossover interest in this fight -- the total PPV revenue should be around $400 million. And that's just the U.S. revenue: International rights will certainly generate more.
Then there are ticket sales. T-Mobile Arena holds approximately 20,000 people. Ticket prices started out astronomical (and still are) but demand has not been huge: Re-sellers are offering significant discounts from face value. So let's be conservative and say Mayweather-McGregor ticket sales yield two-thirds the revenue of Mayweather-Pacquiao. That's still $50 million. Not too shabby.
Then there's sponsorship. One report says Mayweather stands to make approximately $25 million from sponsorship and branding:
"The extraordinary earning power of Mayweather's brand has seen his sponsorship partners One Entertainment request up to $15.5 million for six sections on the boxer's shorts, with requests for $3.5 million for his waistband, and $1.5 million for a 4 x 2 inch patch on the front thigh of his shorts. They are asking for $1 million for his robe and even a million for his 'victor's cap'.
"The ring cushion behind Mayweather's head during the fight, in one of the corners, has been bought out by a betting agent for $3.1 million. Mayweather Promotions are also asking for additional compensation for mass production of any caps or boots."
So how much will each fighter make? That depends on the split, the details of which are confidential. (For all the talking each fighter has done, what they haven't mentioned are any details of the purse split. Go figure.) Various reports estimate the split could be 70/30 for Mayweather, or possibly 75/25.
But don't feel too bad for McGregor. Add up all the different revenue sources, factor in sponsorship money each fighter will earn individually, take a stab at determining a reasonable purse split, and my math says a reasonable baseline estimate is $220-$240 million for Mayweather and $65-$80 million for McGregor.
If PPV sales are higher than expected, those numbers will go up.
So how much will Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor make this Saturday night?
Yep. A ton.