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Floyd Mayweather Bolts HBO, Heads to Showtime, Changes Boxing Landscape

Posted on 02/19/2013

Floyd Mayweather has jumped ship – officially.

This is not a rumor. It was not broken by a “reporter” who is hoping that it is correct. This is an announcement made by Mayweather’s own organization, Mayweather Promotions, which has been known to be premature when it comes to declaring things in the past but isn’t crying wolf here.

Mayweather, whose television home had been HBO for many years, has signed a deal with Showtime and CBS that reportedly will allow him to fight up to six times in the next 30 months. Of course, those fights are going to be on pay-per-view, and the first one will be his bout with Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero for the WBC welterweight title on May 4 in Las Vegas.

In the Mayweather Promotions press release, it was stated that the financial details of the deal were confidential, although of course CBS and Showtime are part of the CBS Corporation, and that is a public corporation, so one can imagine those details are going to become known to some interested party along the way.

Suffice it to say, however, that it will be substantial; in fact, the Mayweather statement is that it is “by far the biggest in the sport of boxing.” Mayweather claims to have authored the “24/7” concept that has become very popular on HBO in the build-up to fights, and though there aren’t many details about the way CBS or Showtime will cover Floyd out of the ring, there is discussion about the “expansive media platforms” that will become a part of the marketing for these fights he engages in.

In this age of multi-media, there is much that can be done, when one considers not only television, but those online channels that also include social media. It appears that there will be much promotion of Mayweather’s events on the CBS Television Network; whether this means CBS will have any further interest in doing live fights (involving others, or Floyd’s promotion company) as a way of executing such cross-promotion is anybody’s guess.

Mayweather, who turned pro back in 1996 following his bronze medal in the Olympics, and has remained undefeated through 43 fights. He has only fought three times in the last three years, however, and will be turning 36 years of age on February 24, so if he is going to maximize the income for this deal (which would expire when he is 38), he needs to become much more active.

According to the announcement, Mayweather is going to enter into a revenue-sharing deal with Showtime PPV that, by implication, out-distances that which he had previously with HBO (which is now headed by former Showtime exec Ken Hershman).

Mayweather’s pay-per-view figures slightly out-perform those of Manny Pacquiao, who is his competitor for “pound-for-pound” king of the box office. Of course, Mayweather was one-half of the combination that produced the highest pay-per-view subscription figure, when his bout with Oscar De La Hoya in May 2007 drew 2.5 million buys. He drew 1.4 million for his fight with Shane Mosley in May 2010; the fight with Victor Ortiz, who is not a major box office draw, had 1.25 million subscribers. And in his last bout on May 5 of last year, he and Miguel Cotto drew 1.5 million pay-per-view purchases.

Mayweather’s nickname for himself is “Money,” and it is not hard to understand why.

According to a survey published in Forbes Magazine in June of last year, Mayweather topped the list of the 100 highest-paid athletes in the world, with $85 million in earnings, based largely on two pay-per-view fights that were done with HBO PPV. Since the language of the release claims Floyd’s contract could yield “the richest individual athlete deal in all of sports,” there would seem no doubt that the deal with Showtime and CBS is designed to put him back on top of that list for 2013.

Will it?

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