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Today in sports: Ron Artest's name change became official, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert dismisses NBA "bloggicists" who says he's holding up a deal that would end the lockout, and the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. financial juggernaut is explained. 

  • When Lakers forward Ron Artest filed a petition in Los Angeles Circuit Court over the summer to legally change his name to Metta World Peace, we had doubts that the goofy, occasionally uncorked defensive stopper would ever actually complete the process. Follow-through has never been an Artest strength--just ask the Great Dane he forgot to feed. In the wake of the NBA lockout, there were also rumors that he was poised to sign with a Finnish pro team, and in August, a Los Angeles court commissioner let it be known he wasn't going to rule on the name change until Artest took care of his unpaid parking tickets. But he carried, and today, just after 10 a.m. local time, the name change went through. According to the Los Angeles Times, the ceremony at the Los Angeles Superior Court took "about 30 seconds" to complete. Artest was not in attendance. [The Los Angeles Times]
  • It wasn't written in Comic Sans like his infamous farewell note to LeBron James, but Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert  has responded to a new ESPN.com report that Gilbert and Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver are holding up a possible deal that would end the NBA lockout, refusing to budge from "hardline demands" for a player salary freeze and salary rollbacks, much to the consternation of their fellow owners. "Some of these NBA 'bloggicists' flat-out makes stuff up and then try to dupe readers into believing their fiction is real," Gilbert tweeted. "Sad & pathetic." (Even if the story is true and Gilbert is holding up a deal, the coinage of 'bloggicist' goes a long way towards erasing any hard feelings.) [ESPN and Twitter]
  • When he's not busy ducking Manny Pacquiao, boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. quietly rakes in the money generated by the very complicated, very lucrative financial structure he devised with his business advisors after he left Top Rank Promotions in 2006. In advance of Mayweather's welterweight title fight tomorrow night against Victor Ortiz, Greg Bishop reports in The New York Times on the counterintuitive business model that's earned Mayweather $115 million for his last four fights. It's a system built on "exchanging upfront risk for back-end profit and retaining total control" of the fight, down to the billboard design. Bishop explains how it pays.

"To explain the business model, [Mayweather business manager Richard] Schaeffer starts with a pie. A little more than half the pie goes to the distributors (Time Warner, DirecTV, etc.). The balance goes to the network, HBO or Showtime, which takes its distribution fees and hands the rest to the promoters.

In this case, Golden Boy has one contract with HBO and another with Mayweather Promotions. But the money, less what distributors and networks take, is under Mayweather’s control; normally the promoter would control it.

That pie is only part of the total revenue, the pay-per-view TV part. To illustrate the other revenue streams, Schaefer pulled a piece of paper from his pocket, a spreadsheet written in 6-point typeface. Drawn out, Schaefer said it would take up two chalkboards, but on the sheet in his pocket, it was boiled down to a formula for how much Mayweather would earn, based on how many people bought the fight and what the other revenue streams brought in.

Those streams include: foreign sales for a fight broadcast in 168 territories; closed-circuit revenues (in 2,000 or so bars and restaurants nationwide, in movie theaters and in rooms at Las Vegas casinos); site revenue (ticket sales, merchandise); and sponsorships. Most boxers would see little, if any, of that money, whereas, Schaefer said: 'All revenues here are Mayweather revenues. He gets part of everything.'"

The downside is that he's also responsible for all the costs associated with promoting a big time fight--advertising, insurance, sanctioning fees, and the like. Mayweather writes himself a check for $20 million at the start--that's his appearance fee. But those "revenue streams" add to his take. According to Schaefer, if the anticipated 1.4 million people buy Saturday's fight, Mayweather will pocket another $40 million. Not bad for a night's work. [The New York Times]

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