Michael Jordan is not the only former world-class athlete looking to join NASCAR’s ownership ranks. Floyd Mayweather is also working to put a car on the track. The boxing legend’s stock car racing brand, The Money Team Racing, is reportedly engaged in discussions with Spire Motorsports about a joint venture that would see TMT Racing co-brand the #77 (and possibly the #7) car for several races this coming year, before introducing the #50 TMT car in 2022. But with institutional sponsorship money tough to come by (think: Fortune 500 brands), doubts remain that TMT Racing will be able to raise enough capital to put a full-time team on the track next year—at least one capable of running up to Mayweather’s standards. As one former team owner said: “The best [sponsorship placement] offer out there right now, on any car, is coming out of Richard Childress Racing and they’re looking for between $1 million and $1.5 million. If that team and lineup can’t find $1 million, what makes you think Spire or Mayweather are going to find it any easier to bring in a multi-million-dollar sponsor?”
Our Take: TMT Racing has been in the works for a while. In fact, there were reports the team would field a car at Homestead-Miami Speedway back in 2019. But rebranding the 36th place car certainly wouldn’t have been the best way to debut a brand reliant on sponsorship revenue—certainly not one associated with success. Ultimately, the team was unable to get in on a car that could have performed at the level Mayweather expects.
To be clear, “Money” Mayweather doesn’t maintain any delusions about winning the Cup Series. But boxing’s former pound-for-pound king fully intends on being competitive on the track. In fact, part of the appeal of aligning with Spire is their affiliations with Hendrick Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing, and the quality equipment TMT Racing will have access to.
Aligning with Spire also enables TMT Racing to gain exposure to the sport—and more important, take sponsors’ temperatures—without having to buy their own charter. “2021 is like a hunting expedition—it’s an option play,” the former owner said. If the team is unable to get sponsors on board, they simply don’t stay on for the following year. For what it’s worth, TMT Racing made offers on both the Leavine Family Racing and Germain Racing charters. Both ended up selling for more than the team was comfortable spending.
At the end of the day, the decision to partner with Spire was ultimately numbers driven. It simply made too much sense to co-brand cars in 2021 before introducing a TMT Racing car in ‘22, as opposed to spending a bunch of money buying or building a fleet now only for them to become obsolete at the end of the year. Remember, NASCAR is moving to their Next-Gen car in 2022. Of course, the new car—designed to reduce team costs—made team ownership more attractive to Mayweather.
As much as Mayweather wants to win races, he views TMT Racing as a business and seeks to make money. Unfortunately, those two goals are often diametrically opposed within the sport. “If a team is just running, it can make a profit,” the former team owner said. But on-track success at stock car racing’s highest level tends to correlate directly with spending. It is believed the cost of running a competitive race team with the Next Gen car will be at least $12 million.
While Mayweather has the money and is willing to invest in the team (startup expenses are expected to be in the $5 million range), it is hard to envision a TMT Racing car on the track in ’22 without sponsorship interest.
And as our deadline, there are no sponsors on board. Michael Jordan’s team does not face that same pressure. Driver Bubba Wallace will bring upward of $20 million in sponsorship commitments with him to 23XI Racing.