Back in 2016, McGregor Promised Cristiano Ronaldo that one day he will become the highest-paid athlete in the world. Fast forward to 2021, and he has accomplished exactly that. Conor only played one match that year, which he even lost. Nonetheless, he amassed a fortune that no other athlete could match. Let’s find out how Conor makes his money and how that resulted in the rise of UFC
When Conor signed a contract with UFC, he had an outstanding record of 12-2 but what made him stand out were his Entertaining character and self-promotion skills.
This is the exact reason Conor made his name in UFC. He was an MMA fighter who was also the master at press conferences. All of these elements helped him to gain popularity and helped him make his mark on the UFC world.
Invention of the Fight-Pass
UFC changed their broadcasting strategy and came up with their streaming channel where they can broadcast their matches anytime, anywhere, without the clutches of traditional TV channels. This was a game-changer for UFC as well as McGregor.
Early research revealed that McGregor was in high demand. More tickets for a McGregor fight were sold on the app than for any other bout. For every pass that was sold McGregor would receive some share of the money. In a recent fight, McGregor made a whopping 10 million dollars revenue from a single fight just from his share of fight-pass.
Business instinct and support from UFC
Conor was becoming the perfect poster boy for UFC, so they sent him on tours all around the world as a result of his popularity. Conor would fight all over the world, gaining new followers, notoriety, and propelling himself to the next level, all while making UFC a big sport as well.
As a result, Conor rose, and the UFC ascended with him. So much so that six out of highest seven pay-per-view draws, had his name on it.
Conor is also blessed with a sharp business instinct. He had a proposition of holding a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. Now if it was any other athlete UFC would not have accepted such a cross-sport proposition, because that would never fit in the contract. But trusting Conor and respecting his instincts they allowed it.
The Result? – the McGregor – Floyd fight earned a staggering 4.3 million PPV buys in North America. The second most in history. This match-up was the perfect stunt to propel Conor and UFC to the next level.
McGregor is the Brand:
Top-paid sportsmen are now exploiting their celebrity status and influence to promote a specific product. They employ their halo effect to boost a company’s brand. McGregor took a risk and became the brand himself.
Instead of knocking on doors, he decided to create his own business. The Proper No. Twelve which is an Irish Whiskey brand made a whopping one billion in sales in its first year itself.
The company was not just selling whiskey, they were selling the McGregor whiskey. McGregor successfully bundled his Image and publicity into the drink and created an extremely authentic brand.
As a result, the whiskey skyrocketed in sales, especially in Ireland. Proper No. 12 gets its name from the district number of the Crumlin neighborhood in Dublin, where Conor grew up.
Conor sold a majority of the equity he had in the company and made an astonishing 150 million dollars from its sale. 150 million dollars from one equity sale.
McGregor last year, earned 180 million dollars out of which he made 22M from the ring and the rest of the 158M from outside. Which includes the 150-million-dollar sale of his whiskey brand. Because UFC is a relatively new sport, it places a premium on entertainment and spectacle.
McGregor saw this as an opportunity and took over as the show’s lead character.
And this is exactly how Conor McGregor makes his money.