Companies owned by Floyd Mayweather, Tom Brady among sports entities granted PPP relief money


The boxing promotion run by Floyd Mayweather, named the highest-paid athlete of the 2010s by Forbes, was among a long list of sports entities that received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from the federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tom Brady’s company TB12 was also on the government’s list of companies granted loans.

The program was intended to help smaller businesses deal with the economic impact of the shutdown that began in the middle of March. Mayweather Promotions was one of three of boxing’s biggest promotions to apply for money. Teams in MLS, NASCAR and IndyCar, as well as the NWSL and Big 3 Basketball, also received relief.

Mayweather Promotions gets PPP loan

Undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the U.S. attends a news conference to announce he is joining Japanese Mixed Martial Arts promotional company Rizin Fighting Federation, in Tokyo, Japan November 5, 2018.   REUTERS/Issei Kato
Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s promotion company applied for and was granted a PPP loan. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)

Mayweather Promotions, Bob Arum’s Top Rank company and Golden Boy Promotions, owned by Oscar De La Hoya, all applied for between $350,000 and $1 million, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Mayweather was named the highest-paid athlete of the past decade by Forbes with $915 million in earnings. His promotion shut down its events on March 17, with no date for a return.

The data was released in loan amount ranges and showed businesses that applied for and were granted the loan, per the Associated Press. Businesses may have chosen to not take the funds.

Congress made $659 billion available in low-interest loans to help businesses through the economy’s shutdown. The loan can be forgiven if the money is used for payroll, rent and similar expenses. More than 80 percent of the 4,880,943 approved loans were for less than $150,000. The Trump administration has refused to release the data on those, per the AP. News organizations have filed a lawsuit to access them.

Brady’s TB12 on list of loans

NBC 10 in Boston reported that Brady’s TB12 Inc. was granted between $350,000 and $1 million in PPP loan money. The lifestyle brand expanded to include TB12 Performance & Recovery Centers, which were shut down during the pandemic.

With his move from Foxborough to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the company also reportedly planned to bring TB12 to the new market. Brady signed a two-year, $50 million contract in the offseason.

He has been working out with teammates in Tampa, despite the NFL Players Association urging against group workouts, and promoting his TB12 supplements heavily on Instagram.

Soccer teams, league apply for PPP

At least four MLS teams were involved in the program. Per the AP, D.C. United and Inter Miami were in the $1 million to $2 million range. Orlando City and the Seattle Sounders were in the $2 million to $5 million range.

The Athletic reported in May that at least 12 clubs submitted an application. Seven will not use money they were offered. The Seattle Times reported around the same time that the Sounders used their PPP loan to retain a support staff of nearly 140 people.

The NWSL, which has 16 on staff and more than 200 players paid by the organization, confirmed to The New York Times it took an unspecified amount and used 100 percent of it on payroll.

Lisa Baird, the league’s commissioner who took over March 10, told the Times:

“Our sole intent in applying for the P.P.P. loan was to continue player compensation. With ours, the calculus was pretty simple. Either you’re going to pay your players or you’re going to furlough them. What could we do?”

Baird said the money was a bridge to pay players while the league came up with a plan and additional sponsorships for a summer Challenge Cup tournament in Utah that began late last month.

Racing world approved for ‘substantial’ loans

Per the AP, a “bulk” of NASCAR and IndyCar teams were approved for “substantial” loans.

NASCAR teams included Richard Childress Racing and Roush Fenway Racing, both championship winners, and Richard Petty Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports and Jeff Gordon Inc.

Nearly every full-time IndyCar team was approved, per the AP. Team Penske was not included. Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania also got a loan between $350,000 and $1 million.

Other entities got PPP loans

Big 3 Basketball LLC, the 3-on-3 league founded by Ice Cube, got $1.6 million and returned $700,000, company spokesman Jeremy Watkins told the AP. The money was used to pay coaches and players for the season and ensure there is a 2021 season, Watkins said.

The league was set to enter its fourth season this summer before calling it off in May. It is reportedly still working on a reality show-style tournament, “Big 3: Not in My House,” that it hopes to premiere before the 2021 season. That event was initially planned for April.

More than a dozen minor league baseball teams were on the PPP list, per the AP, including Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s DeWine Seeds-Silver Dollar Baseball LLC. It was given between $150,000 and $350,000.

At least four smaller college conferences and the Sugar Bowl also applied for and were granted loans. An AP survey in May found 70 percent of all Olympic federations applied for PPP loans.

Big leagues, teams stay out of PPP

The NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB were not on the government list for PPP loans. The Los Angeles Lakers were criticized in April when they received a $4.6 million loan and small businesses in more dire situations had trouble accessing the program.

The Lakers announced they gave back the loan when they realized the “funds for the program had been depleted.” The Lakers’ estimated worth is $4 billion.

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