Friday, January 12, 2007

MLS Knocks Over Federal Reserve

I know that MLS soccer is about as compelling as Canadian curling and definitely at the bottom of the US sports foodchain, but this is ridiculous. ESPN broke the story that David Beckham would be signing a contract with the LA Galaxy of the MLS league.

Since you hear constantly how obsessed Beckham and his wife are with America, this was not a surprise. I felt that his move to the MLS was inevitable, but I figured it would be after his prime and to New York City. Therefore, I paid little attention to the announcement.

I did not realize that the contract was "valued" at $250 million. So here's the link to a site you've probably never visited before. (Notice that they don't even have the rights to "" as that website is a real estate "portal") One of the reasons this story struck me was that I saw that the Galaxy signed Beckham to a 5 year deal.

Surely, you must be joking. That's $50 million per season, so I know that there has to be some kind of lucrative/cartoonish salary scheme going on. Sure enough, ESPN News explained that the "guaranteed money" is equivalent to $51 million over 5 years, with a potential total value of $250 million.

This extra little scrap of say $200 million will be earned through endorsements. Wait. What? What kind of endorsement deal earns $200 million for a single individual. Does the MLS really believe Beckham can turn the LA Galaxy into the Dallas Cowboys? The SI article vaguely explains who is showing Becks the money:

"Most of the value is from David's worldwide endorsement," MLS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis said on Thursday. "That's a separate deal. That's his deal with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) and 19 Entertainment. That's not something we're involved in.
Riiiight. The MLS is not involved with this nearly quarter-of-a-billion-dollar bulge. Does anyone else smell some multi-team collusion going on here in order to strike life into Major League Soccer?

Regardless, it's pretty cool that Beckham, arguably the world's most visible soccer star, is coming to play in the US at age 31 (and not 38 or 39). However, I find it hard to believe that 5 years from now his impact will come close to threatening the likes of Brady, Lebron, Tiger, Jeter, Crosby, Federer. Shall I continue?

Forgot one. ARod probably will be blamed if Beckham does not succeed in Los Angeles. That may become a good comparison, except for the fact that Beckham will probably dribble through MLS opponents like the AND-1 streetballers would facing a geriatric rec team.

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