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Reflecting on the Beckham effect

Marketplace Staff Feb 16, 2009
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Reflecting on the Beckham effect

Marketplace Staff Feb 16, 2009
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: Soccer superstar David Beckham has made it pretty clear he doesn’t want to come back to Los Angeles — and it’s not about the traffic or smog. The midfielder’s been on two-month loan from Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy to Italy’s AC Milan football club. The Galaxy gave Milan a Friday deadline to put up or shut up. And they apparently didn’t cough up enough money to keep Becks.

Let’s bring in our business of sports commentator, Diana Nyad. Diana, he signed this big deal with the Galaxy and there was this hoopla about all this money. He was being equated to A-Rod and Lebron James. But in this case, it’s not all that it seems, now is it?

Diana Nyad: It sounded to us. OK, when we read the paper and we see a headline, “David Beckham signs $250 million deal to play in Major League Soccer, we think soccer is arriving. They are starting to dish out contracts like the Alex Rodriguez contract of baseball. Well guess what? That $250 million, which over five years would be $50 mil a year, his salary for actually playing the game was around $9 [million] — $9 million, which is in keeping with the great football players of the world — and football, I mean soccer. But the other $40.5 [million], $41 million that we’re supposed to believe he’s getting paid to play the game, uh uh — that was all in potential earnings as an endorsement guy. As a matter of fact, it included what his wife, Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham, was maybe gonna make here in the states, too. So that was really the Beckham potential American earning power.

Chiotakis: So this was sort of a . . . the marketing of David Beckham, or perhaps the remarketing of him.

Nyad: Yeah, exactly right. And it worked — I mean, that first month or two that he was here, I can’t think of, there certainly wasn’t another sports star, I can’t think of another movie star that was splashed across the pages. He was at the front, you know, rows at Lakers games. You know, we had helicopters flying over his pool in Beverly Hills. You know, the guy was superstar. And if he stayed in the states, he would — I don’t say he’d make American soccer, but he would have elevated the interest for sure.

Chiotakis: So I guess the logical question would be did he help the LA Galaxy at all? Did he help Major League Soccer?

Nyad: Temporarily. He did when he was here. But one statement he made two weeks ago to an Italian newspaper I think was absolutely devastating, I guarantee you. Becks says: American soccer is a good 10 years away from being able to even play on that stage with the Europeans and South Americans. Ten years away. And so, you know, now, he will have done more detriment than had he not come in the first place. You know, so most people here are gonna say good riddance and sorry you ever came.

Chiotakis: Diana Nyad, talking to us about the business of sports. Diana, thanks.

Nyad: It’s been a pleasure, Steve.

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