Brand Beckham To Exercise Its Muscle

Brand Beckham To Exercise Its Muscle

Some celebrities are bigger in death than life, but rarely are they bigger in retirement than when they were doing what made them famous in the first place. In some ways, it is hard to imagine that David Beckham could become a bigger star, talent, icon, whatever. But Beckham the brand is likely to quickly dwarf what it was before his recent retirement from football.

If recent events are any indication, Beckham is moving rapidly to put his celebrity and financial capital to use. Much of his later playing career involved leveraging his waning football talent yet expanding commercial appeal into shrewd post-football deals. His involvement in securing the 2012 Olympics for London was part of a globalizing strategy that saw him travel the world making new friends in high places. Becoming an unofficial global football ambassador, he turned his fame into a lucrative contract in Major League Soccer (MLS), a win-win for the expanding American soccer league.

The value of Beckham’s deal was discussed and debated heavily in the media with one provision as a regular footnote – an option to buy into the league as a franchise owner at the end of the contract. The option alone could be seen as a savvy deal given the competition for landing MLS franchises in the past couple of years; however, Beckham and his management reportedly negotiated the buy-in fee at $25 million. Only a few years later, the second New York franchise was created for a $100 million fee. Perhaps MLS would not value the franchise fee so highly in Miami, Orlando, or San Antonio, but it is clear that Beckham has the option to enter a league at well-below market value as soccer continues to grow in popularity and revenue.

Brand Beckham is way more than just a trans-Atlantic business. China has invested in Beckham and not just as a commercial pitchman.  The Chinese Super League hired him as an Ambassador to raise the profile of the sport at home and abroad.  Decision-makers have seen what he meant to the global rise of Manchester United and the Premier League, the image of Club England, the co-opting of his fan base to Real Madrid, and the expansion of MLS.  Chinese soccer has already benefitted from his appeal.  In the pandemonium of a visit last week, seven people were injured in a stampede at an official Beckham event.  The recognition and passion that he engenders will not wane with his retirement.  He is already been out of the elite football limelight for a few years yet his star continues to brighten.

Be prepared for corporate Beckham to become more ubiquitous than footballer Beckham ever imagined.  Global celebrity, retired football star, growing financial clout – witness the ever-expanding business of David Beckham.


Author Description

JB Hacking

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