Floyd Mayweather is, of course, a world-class boxer. But Pretty Boy is also apparently a world-class sports bettor. You might think that having a virtual blank check with nine figures in the bank would make that easy, but Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan would testify to the contrary. Mayweather might be prone to publicizing his wins more often than his losses, but BuzzFeed’s Nick Schwartz did the math with what he had available to him and determined that the 36-year-old made at least $4.3 million off of his winnings in 2012.
With that in mind, it’s not shocking that, as part of his new $300-plus million relationship with Showtime, Mayweather could attempt to land his own gambling segment on the network’s signature weekly NFL program, “Inside the NFL.” That comes from Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a breakdown of the Mayweather-Showtime deal.
But Carp notes that Showtime Sports executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza thinks “the NFL would likely frown upon that kind of programming.”
That much, I can guarantee. The league won’t just frown upon it, they’ll shut it down before Mayweather has a chance to get near the set. CBS might pay the NFL about $1 billion a year to broadcast games, but even that doesn’t give the corporation enough leverage to let one of its channels air gambling content in connection to professional football. Two of the show’s hosts — Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth — are lead color analysts on two of the four networks that hold NFL play-by-play rights, and there’s absolutely no way Roger Goodell and his office would let those two men be part of a show that includes analysis of point spreads and/or over-unders.
The reality is that this would have worked at Mayweather’s previous home, HBO, because that channel and its parent, Time-Life, don’t have any connections to the NFL. But the lack of a relationship also means HBO has no NFL programming. And that’s the catch-22 that prevents gambling talk from infiltrating mainstream NFL programming.
It’s a shame, though, because a gambling segment would provide refreshing content amid a landscape that has been polluted with clichéd and tired features. I really wish the NFL wouldn’t be so afraid to touch the sports betting industry with a 10-foot pole, because if not for that industry, the league wouldn’t be the $10 billion a year operation it is today. So many football fans and Sunday Ticket subscribers are devoted to the game as a result of gambling, but the league continues to pretend it doesn’t exist.
Sadly, that might never change.