Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From “Money” Mayweather vs “The Notorious” McGregor

Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From “Money” Mayweather vs “The Notorious” McGregor



On Sunday morning 27 August like many around the world, I got up early to witness the money fight. According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Mayweather was guaranteed $100 million and McGregor was guaranteed $30 million.

When I converted that into Rands I ran out of zeros. I was also struck by the similarities between professional sport (in this instance, fighting) and marketing.

Like a well-positioned brand, any claims that you make in your marketing message need to be backed up. For the show, all of the trash talking and the brash attitude they demonstrated across social media is only backed up when it delivers a knockout.

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Here are some key marketing takeaways:

1Always focus on your end game

Professional sports is there to entertain a crowd, demonstrate the amazing possibilities of the mortal body, motivate everyday people to get off the couch and move, and impart lessons about how to operate in victory and defeat.

Like all business, professional sports entities have a single purpose: To generate a massive profit. In boxing, there aren’t any annual or scheduled events. They are solely driven by demand (matchups), which is decided by profit. The endgame is crystal clear.

While this fight certainly didn’t live up to its combative hype, it undoubtedly epitomised its moniker: The Money Fight.

With live gate revenues, pay-per-view and live streaming, the earnings for the fighters is at a whopping $230million, and don’t forget those 50-0 hats that went on sale as soon as the final bell rung.

2Make it appealing

They made history, by matching up the 2 best fighters in their respective sports and pitting fans of boxing vs. UFC against each other to settle the score on the long-running debate.

Create intrigue and debate, media posted questions like, “Could the best UFC fighter in history beat the greatest boxer of his generation with only his fists?” “do boxers really punch harder than UFC fighters?” And, at age 40, Mayweather also faced the question, “is he too old?”

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3Expand into new market channels

UFC is most popular with white male ages 18-34, while boxing is most popular among African Americans and Hispanics.

The cross-marketing promotions of this fight exposed both audiences to each respective sport.

The promo leading up to the fight featured video highlights of each fighter’s greatest moments, which was a calculated advertising for each sport.

As a boxing fan and a marketing geek myself, it’s most rewarding when both fighters put on a good show. McGregor’s post-fight comment about Mayweather summed it up. “He’s not that fast, he’s not that powerful, but boy is he composed.”

You don’t always have to be the fastest, flashiest, or strongest. Just keep validating with your endgame in sight.

Charles Hsuan
Charles Hsuan, digital strategy expert. He has a Masters in Marketing and Diploma from Digital Marketing Institute. He was the digital manager at Entrepreneur Media from 2013 till early 2017. Currently a partner at Digital Candy Consulting and Digital Marketing Lecturer. He is a firm believer in “People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” Email him at or connect with him on linkedin.