Beckham reaches for the stars and stripes with LA Galaxy
Now the dust has settled in the transfer of David Beckham from Real Madrid I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the more intricate parts of the deal, away from the ‘$250m man’ headlines.
So what’s in it for Beckham?
- - A move away from the tabloid spotlight of Europe, the people who built the Beckham brand are the ones who have invariably tried to break it over the last couple of years. Despite Beckham’s notoriety in Europe/UK he will enjoy a certain private freedom in the US.
- - A healthy contract, with suggested earnings of up to $250m over the next five years made up of salary and personal endorsements. Unlike at Real Madrid, where Beckham gave up a large chunk of his image rights (and subsequent income), the player will keep 100% of income generated from the use of his image. It is also reported Beckham will take a slice of ticket sales, although I’m guessing this will be chicken feed in the grand scheme of things.
- - An opportunity to ramp up activity with his soccer schools – one is based at the training facility of his new club – is seen as a big influence in the decision to move to America. With ‘soccer’ being most popular amongst young kids Beckham and his advisors will undoubtedly look to increase quickly the number of soccer schools not only in the US, but across the world
- - An ambassador role with MLS must have been attractive. He has been an icon in Europe for many years but it can be argued his star has been waning in the last 12/24 months, he will now become THE star of MLS in the US.
What’s in it for LA Galaxy?
- - Vastly increased media attention which subsequently brings in demand for season tickets and significantly increases commercial opportunities for the club.
- - Beckham’s playing demise has been somewhat overstated in the UK press, he could have easily fitted into most Premiership teams but will instead shine as a leading player in MLS. This can only benefit the team’s chances of winning.
What’s in it for MLS?
- - They have guaranteed media interest in a league which generated little attention outside of the US.
- - Beckham moving to MLS makes it a credible proposition for other marquee players in Europe to join the League
- - Commercial opportunities will increase, Beckham is a global phenomenon and brings global brands with him.
- - This is make or break time for MLS, after voting for the ‘Designated Player Rule’, esentially allowing clubs to sign one player outside of the team salary cap, means that there is a clear intention by the League to make it a truly long-term sustainable sports league.
What’s in it for AEG?
- - Anschutz Entertainment Group played a major role in Beckham’s move. They have increasingly close ties to the player. AEG own the LA Galaxy and will be his paymaster. They will benefit from the commercial clout Beckham brings to any organisation.
- - AEG and Beckham joined forces to launch the David Beckham Academy in locations across the world, based at locations owned by AEG, eg Home Depot Center and The o2 Dome. The US is ripe for high-level soccer academies
What’s in it for Beckham’s sponsors?
- - Some of Beckham’s long-term partners will use his move to the US to kick-start an assault on the youth football market.
- - Adidas, major partner of MLS and personal sponsor of Beckham, will aim to knock Nike Football off top spot in the US
- - Gillette will continue to use Beckham to appeal to young males.
- - It is not clear whether some of Beckham’s other sponsors will stick with him as he moves from the European market to the US market but we can be sure that US brands will be keen to partner with him.
Overall, nearly all parties win. In the long-term the only losers could be MLS. The Designated Player Rule is only in place for 3 seasons and many are comparing the current situation with that of the NASL of the 1970’s which imploded in a financial mess.
One thing is for sure, Beckham comes out on top.
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