Mayweather vs. McGregor fight: Financial tale of the tape

The hype around the fight between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and UFC star Conor “The Notorious” McGregor on Saturday has been as relentless as Muhammad Ali’s jab. 

Mayweather, a five-time world champion, was coaxed out of retirement to face McGregor, a mixed martial arts champion has never boxed professionally. In addition to collecting a huge payday, the winner of the bout will receive a “Money Belt” made with alligator leather and encrusted with 1.5 kilograms of 24-karat gold, 3,360 diamonds, 600 sapphires and 300 emeralds.

So far, the fighters have only sparred verbally, trading insults through the media. Despite the buildup, many boxing experts aren’t expecting much of a fight in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. The 22 experts polled by Ring TV.com unanimously picked Mayweather to defeat McGregor despite the former being 11 years older than the native of Ireland. Keith Idec of Boxing Scene called the fight a “complete mismatch that never should’ve been sanctioned as more than an exhibition by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.”  

By contrast, fans appear to be caught up in contest between two of the fight game’s loudest and brashest personalities.

“Of all the great fight promotions in the modern era, this one has been the most transparent as to what you will probably be getting,” wrote Brian Campbell of CBS Sports. “Yet at the same time, considering the size of personalities and egos involved, and the incredible crossover potential beyond both the fight game and sports in general, this is the one fight in history that most dares you not to buy it.”

Mayweather McGregor Boxing

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Conor McGregor pose for photographers during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, in Las Vegas. 

Part of the spectacle involves the vast sums of money swirling around the bout. Here’s the financial tale of the tape:

Huge payday.  Mayweather will collect a stupendous $100 million for the fight, with McGregor not far behind at $75 million. That makes the average Fortune 500 company CEO compensation of $13.1 million seem like chump change. Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo currently tops the Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid athletes, earning $93 million, although that includes his pay for an entire season

Betting action. The legal wagering on the fight is expected to top the $60 million bet on Mayweather’s 2015 battle with Manny Pacquiao. According to Jay Rood, MGM’s vice president of race and sports, Mayweather is the betting public’s favorite. A $100 winning bet on the boxer will net a gambler about $13 in winnings, while the same wager on McGregor will yield $400. Most individual bettors in Las Vegas are backing McGregor, with bets on the fighter averaging $212, compared with an average wager of $8,036 on Mayweather. That means bookmakers will take a beating if McGregor prevails. Several gamblers reportedly have made multi-million dollar bets, though it isn’t clear if Mayweather has followed through on his promise to place a 7-figure bet on himself.

Pay-Per-View. According to Deadline Hollywood, promoters of the fight could net between $700 million and $1 billion in pay-per-view revenue around the world from fans willing to shell out $99.95 for the right to see the bout. If move terms, it would be among the top 10 highest box office generators of all time. Revenue from ticket sales in the venue is expected to hit $92 million.

Merchandise. Sports apparel and gear seller Fanatics is offering a variety of t-shirts, baseball caps and hoodies that start at about $30, along with autographed memorabilia from Mayweather such as boxing gloves ($799) and trunks ($699.99). Autographed McGregor gloves were being offered online at a discounted price of $449.99.

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