In the ’80s and ’90s, Mike Tyson was probably the scariest and most dangerous boxer in the world. That claim to fame was more than just talk too, as he was pretty dangerous at the height of his career. Due to his bad choices though, many companies pulled their endorsement deals with Mike Tyson, and this cost him millions of dollars.
Mike Tyson gains a lot of sponsors
The year was 1988, and ‘Iron Mike’ was riding high on the heels of dozens of victories, most of which by knockout. He was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and he wasn’t even 22-years-old yet.
He was still undefeated, and, at the time, it seemed as if nothing could slow him down. That, unfortunately, turned out to be totally correct, just not in the way that boxing fans thought it would be.
In any case, as the Chicago Tribune said, he was still a bankable star at the time. He had endorsement deals with major companies such as Pepsi, Toyota, Nintendo, Kodak, Suntory Beer, and more.
It’s not clear what each of these deals were worth, but, as the L.A. Times wrote, in total, they added up to millions of dollars. And, in the case of Pepsi, Tyson had a 3-month with Pepsi that would’ve become a 1-year deal if things went well with him.
Things did not go well with him.
Mike Tyson loses a lot of sponsors
In the second half of 1988, a lot of things went wrong in Tyson’s life. One of the worst things that happened was that it was revealed that Tyson was beating his wife, Robin Givens.
This was obviously a terrible thing for him to do, and so naturally, he got a lot of heat for it. Not only that, but he was also involved with a street fight with another heavyweight boxer.
On top of that, Tyson had a string of automobile accidents. Like the Chicago Tribune wrote, after one car accident, he tried to bribe the cops with his $165,000 Bentley.
Then, not long after, he got into another car accident. And then of course, more information was released about his private life with Givens, and soon, the two were in the middle of a divorce.
None of this was good press, so naturally, almost all of his endorsement deals ended right then and there. The L.A. Times said that if Tyson hadn’t messed things up, then he would’ve gotten a $10 million deal with Pepsi. The only deal that he kept, according to the Chicago Tribune, was his deal with Nintendo, which he earned $750,000 from.
How much money was lost in endorsements?
The Chicago Tribune said that Mike Tyson lost $2 million in endorsements and that number jumps to $12 million if his potential deal with Pepsi is included. That said, the amount of money that ‘Iron Mike’ has lost is probably far more than that.
That’s because endorsement deals are fueled by a celebrity’s public image. If their public image isn’t good, then companies won’t sign those endorsement deals.
Tyson, ever since 1988, has had a pretty negative public image. Not only has he gone to prison for rape, but he’s also bitten the ears of his opponent in the ring.
These actions, and more, have tainted his public image for a long time. As a result, many companies have likely avoided signing an endorsement deal with him throughout his decades in the business.
Endorsements can make popular fighters a lot of money throughout their careers. However, Tyson has tainted his image so much that very few companies want to work with him. This means that he has effectively missed out on millions of dollars.