Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Is David Beckham Getting Paid Too Much?

This post is a sort of a continuation on my article about soccer's most valuable clubs. I thought it would be appropriate to showcase the most well paid sporting athlete in the world, David Beckham. (According to In this article, I'll briefly comb through the details of his contract, expose the common misconception regarding his "record breaking" deal, and offer my 2 cents on whether or not he'll make as big of an impact as the MLS are banking on.
Beckham, the former England captain, has been given the responsibility of putting a foot in the door that leads to American soccer interest. Obviously, for anything to become popular in America, substantial amounts of money have to be involved. According to the past year's gossip on his astronomical salary, the question now becomes:
Is he getting paid too much?
The Answer: Absolutely not.
The Facts
A common misconception concerning the contract of David Beckham is exactly how much he receives. A Sports Illustrated writer Jen Chang breaks down the phrase, "$250 million in salary and commercial endorsements", here:

AP reported that the Galaxy, citing industry experts, said the Beckham deal "is worth more than $250 million in salary and commercial endorsements." The key phrase to note here are the words "commercial endorsements" and not the word "salary." It's actually more an estimate of what people think he could potentially earn as opposed to what he will receive annually in paychecks from MLS and the Galaxy.

Very clever business PR move. By stating potential monumental earnings, they create a buzz about it. This ultimately adds even more value to the Beckham profile.
He goes on to explain that the actual amount of salary dollars David receives is nothing compared to the colossal "$250 million" figure that people like to talk about.
Although the specifics of his salary aren't officially published, trusted sources say his salary is definitely in the single-digit millions.
So where does the rest of the hundreds of millions come from?

  • Adidas is reportedly paying a few million for part of the jersey rights (which they manufacture).
  • Beckham is said to be receiving half of the revenue from Galaxy jersey sales.
  • Undisclosed percentage of ticket sales
  • Endorsement clauses and legal mumbo-jumbo entitling him to the possibility of earning the $250 million difference.

My 2 Cents
Do I think Beckham is getting paid too much? No way. When you break it down and push aside the corporate interpretation of his contract, you'll notice his salary isn't that much different than a lot of other global soccer stars. He's the one responsible for the biggest increase in the value of Major League Soccer. I think he deserves a salary comparable to the work required for adding value to the pre-Beckham, struggling MLS.
Do I think Beckham can make as big of an impact as the MLS are hoping for? Absolutely. Being a Southern California resident, I've been able to witness the mass hysteria and obsession involved with the celebrity scene. It doesn't get much more celebrity than David Beckham. He's the spark that will ignite the footy-wildfire that will eventually spread from coast to coast. He already has made quite an impact. The year or so he's been here, ticket sales skyrocketed and jersey sales saw a huge boost.
Will it happen soon? Nope . Creating and molding the soccer brand in America will take some time. The economic room available for another major sport in the United States is limited, so the MLS will have a tough task creating elbow room. However, it's not impossible, by any means.
Beckham's arrival has been a huge step forward, but there is still much work to be done. The league still needs more high-profile players from overseas, and the ODP needs to crank out more youth talent to build the national team's reputation.
Rest assured my American soccer-savvy comrades, the light is at the end of the tunnel. Even if we can't see it yet.
Erik S. - Publisher -
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