Can Athletes No Longer Afford To “Make It Rain”?

Sure, I’ve read over and over again about how bad the economy is. I know that people are losing their jobs, businesses are shutting down and people are hurting. But this story in the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL really brings it home: apparently, things are so bad that millionaire athletes can’t afford to “make it rain” at Las Vegas nightclubs. Damn it, we’re bailing out Detroit, why can’t we bail out Las Vegas?

Javon Walker

Branden Powers, a partner and director of marketing at Poetry nightclub at the Forum Shops at Caesers, saying that Vegas is “drying up” in terms of big money spenders coming to exclusive nightclubs. He estimated that business was off by 25 to 40 percent in December, and the practice of big shot athletes “making it rain” by tossing wads of hundred dollar bills into the crowd is almost non-existent:

“We had sporadic showers,” said Powers. “It was only a drizzle. It wasn’t at all like the hundreds of thousands of dollars we’ve seen in the past.”

The No. 1 rainmaker who is now experiencing a serious drought? Floyd Mayweather, who would show up to Poetry and other popular Vegas clubs twice a month or more with wads of cash between $10,000 and $20,000 to heave into the crowd. But it’s been months since any club has seen Mayweather shower the crowd with cash. (How quickly could he have blown through that $20 million for appearing at Wrestlemania?)

Also going the way of the dodo bird is the practice of spraying crowds with champagne. Vegas police theorize that athletes have stopped this after Javon Walker was beaten to a pulp and robbed of $100,000 in jewelry after spraying crowds at popular clubs on consecutive nights.

I don’t know which is harder to believe: that athletes are running out of disposable income and actually becoming smarter about their spending habits, or that athletes are learning lessons from bad incidents involving Walker & Adam “Pacman” Jones and are toning down their extracurricular activities. Both seem pretty impossible to believe.