Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Times On Beckham's Move

The Times seems to think Beckham's next move will be to L.A. They report that Beckham will be rejecting Real Madrid's latest offer today as he believe they're offering it to him not because they want him to play but they want his image associated with Real Madrid. That academy that Beckham set up in LA? The one that's functioned since it's founding without him living there? Apparently that is part of the lure for David to head to city that gave us Hollywood and the live radio traffic report. Why not other clubs? The Times says that after playing for Manchester United, Mr. Posh has no interest in playing for other English clubs. Unfortunately they don't cite anything for that point. And I don't recall Mr. Beckham saying he would never play for another club in England other than ManUtd. If memory serves me right, he hasn't ruled it out. he's only made comments alluding to not playign for a club other than ManU. But we've seen plenty of players change their tune after sayig those sort of things. Why would Beckham be different? As Soccer Lens points out, a couple big Italian clubs such as Inter and AC Milan are interested in Beckham. More so, they seem to see a move to the Los Angeles Galaxy as being a move into obscurity. Why wouldn't it be? Part of Mr. Posh's appeal has been his good looks. But the other part has been a world class right foot and astute tactical understanding of the game displayed at two of the biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid and Manchester United. Once he moves to the MLS, Beckham's appeal will drop. Many fans will view that as proof that he's on the decline. Remember when Michael Jordan played minor league baseball? How much attention did that get? A decent amount. But how did people talk about? It was Michael Jordan, the once great basketball player playing baseball. They didn't rush out and buy Birmingham Barons jersey. It's the perception of Beckham's decline that should have us questioning what actual value he holds for the MLS and the Los Angeles Galaxy. How much attention would they get and how much of that would actually translate into dollars? Why would that 14 year old in Japan buy a Beckham jersey once Beckham's no longer at a big club? Once people perceive Beckham as preparing for retirement, what kind of viewership can the the TV companies get if they buy broadcast rights? It's not to say Beckham loses all value once he moves. The question is how much value he keeps. More so, how much of these new revenues for the Galaxy would be going into Beckham's pocket instead of their due to his image rights clause? One of the sticking points in his negotiations with Real Madrid was getting more than 50% of these. The other question I haven't seen addressed is how AEG comes up with the money. Uncle Phil, the owner of AEG, has deep pockets. But he didn't get their splashing his cash on assets that quickly lose their value such as players. And for all the talk about how Beckham will grow the Galaxy's income, I have yet to see anyone address what the current income of the Galaxy is at this time. For example, if the Galaxy brought in $9 million in revenue last year that would mean the rumored $9million contract they offered him is the equivalent of an entire years income. It's been said that to be profitable, a club should spend no more than 50% - 60% of it's wages on players. More so, one of the MLS's strengths has been that they are thought to be spending on 30-40% of their revenues on players. Even if the Galaxy had $15m or even $20m in revenues last year, this represents one single player taking up a major portion of that. And no matter what it represents for the Galaxy, bringing Beckham into the league is a major departure from their previous cost structure. This rumored offer is the equivalent of 4-6 teams, nearly half the teams in the league, total wages. It begs the question of how big of a gamble this really is for the Galaxy and the MLS.

No comments: