Beckham Rumors Have MLS Buzzing

by The Yank on March 21, 2008

in Europe, Major League Soccer

Rumors, speculation, and innuendo about David Beckham?

No way!

Peter Vagenas, maybe… But Beckham?

Well, of course. He is, after all, one of the most famous men in the world of soccer.

Famous as a player, that is, but perhaps not for long…

According to published reports, CBS 60 Minutes is set to air a profile of Beckham that reveals that he and his agent, Simon Fuller, have an option to purchase an MLS franchise after his contract with the Galaxy expires in 2011.

That’s right. Beckham, the club owner.

Now, Beckham and Fuller definitely have the pounds to get the deal done (and I’m not talking about the kind around Clint Mathis’ waist). Beckham is one of the richest footballers (or athletes for that matter) in the entire world, and Fuller was making American Idols long before he brought DB to the states. 

Hypothetically, the deal would be done like so: (1) Beckham builds MLS’ credibility for three more years playing for the league’s most popular team (fans of other squads, don’t get mad at me, the Gals had the highest attendance even before landing Posh’s boytoy), (2) then in 2011 instead of jumping ship to another squad, Beckham buys the entire ship and takes the wheel, (3) proceeds to sell a gazillion of his team’s newly designed jerseys, and (4) gets to keep ALL the profits this time (instead of just the ridiculous percentage of them he gets with LA now).

So long as MLS is profitable by 2011 (and the trends appear to point towards that being the case), Beckham becomes an even richer man.

Imagine if Becks decided to coach as well. Player/Coach/Owner has a nice ring to it.

MLS refuses to comment on the story as of now, which is typical of their clandestine B.S. approach to promoting the league. MLS may be a private company under the law, but leagues are supposed to cater to their fans, and some confirmation regarding Beckham’s possible ownership could create international headlines for the league.

The Galaxy are also not commenting, but probably because they don’t want fans thinking Beckham is on his way out before he ever really gets a chance to play regularly.

Even Beckham’s spokesman isn’t commenting, but then again, why would he? A rumor is as good as the truth nowadays anyways and if someone wants to write a story about how rich and powerful his client is, then who is he to stop them.

Some members of the media have already noted that Beckham would be just shy of 36 years of age in 2011 and might not being playing well enough at that point to spur his new squad into the top tier of the league. Tell that to the Fire though, who brought in 35 year old legend Blanco last season who willed the team into the playoffs before leading them to the semis.

My bet is Beckham will have enough left in the tank to play until 2013. Assuming the rumor is true, he will have three years to sell some jerseys for his squad and use the resulting windfall to bring in some of his old mates from jolly old England (who by then will be ready to call MLS home due to their advanced age).

Imagine it, a Beckham-owned MLS side.

At least they didn’t promise him he could own the entire league. Though in all fairness, that rumor could just be a day or so away as well.

On another note, it appears Beckham will be getting his historic 100th cap against France next week. Though I am often quick to poke fun at Becks, one has to admit that 100 caps for a squad like England is beyond impressive. Though international success has eluded the English, they clearly have one of the deepest fields of fine national team players.

To receive 100 caps in so deep a talent pool is quite a feat, and though he probably will not start the match against France, I am betting that when he comes on in the second half, even the notoriously cold French fans will have to give Beckham a warm welcome into England’s history books.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

David Wilson March 21, 2008 at 7:24 am

I have found Beckham;s comments really interesting here. Basically he has said that his family love it in the states. He has yet to say that he enjoys playing for the Galazy or in MLS.

I wonder after a full pre-season if Becks is a little taken aback at the lack of talent in MLS and the Galaxy in particular?

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Jason R March 21, 2008 at 7:52 am

You know what’s really BS? Soccer fans who whine that they aren’t given every little tidbit of news and confirmation of rumors on a daily basis and on THEIR timetables.

Yeah, MLS is a private company. No, it’s not a public trust. You overestimate your position in the equation.

When there’s something to tell you, you’ll get told. Else ferret it out for yourself. But don’t whine because YOUR timetable isn’t followed to the letter, because, God knows, you just won’t be able to sleep tonight unless all your questions are answered.

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RandallHall March 21, 2008 at 9:24 am

Well Jason, I agree that it is BS for fans of any league to expect immediate confirmation regarding rumors related to player transactions, injuries, starting lineups, etc. Just because we want to know doesn’t mean we need to or that they have to tell us.

But that’s not the case here. If Beckham contracted for the option to buy a team at the end of his LA contract, that would be the first time ever (as far as I know) that any league made such a deal with a player. There was talk of A-Rod getting such a deal in baseball, but it never happened.

It’s not like I am asking for MLS to release a list of players’ salaries or some other proprietary or confidential information, I am just wondering why they are shying away from confirming whether they allowed their own procedure for gaining ownership of a team to be circumvented in order to obtain Beckham. Even if they did, I am not saying it was a bad decision. On the contrary, I think it would be a good one.

MLS can do what it likes, you are certainly right there. And while it is not a public trust, that does not mean it does not need to be an entity the public can trust in order to be successful.

MLS lets these ridiculous rumors about $250 million deals and options to own teams fly around b/c it drums up PR, which is good for any league. But if every rumor is eventually exposed as an over-hyped falsity, then the league would be doing a disservice to perpetuate the rumor by refusing to comment. How many times have we already seen people refer to Becks’ $250 million contract and then laugh, knowing that it is, and never was, for that much?

As you can probably tell, I doubt this Beckham option is even true, seeing as how it would be nearly impossible for the option to be exercised on a practical level. How would it even work? It’s not like he could just pick which franchise he wanted. I imagine that squad’s current owner might have a problem with that. Unless he ends up part of the ownership group in Miami, I doubt there’s a U.S. city suitable for Posh and Becks that’s left for MLS to expand into.

I do take issue with your “when there’s something to tell you, you’ll be told” language. There’s something to tell me now (i.e., whether the rumor is true). I can tell you why they will never tell us though. Because if the option did exist, and he chose not to exercise it, you better believe that MLS would be embarassed as hell. They stay silent to avoid looking stupid.

Trust me, I will sleep fine tonight regardless of whether I know about Beckham’s deal. The only way I’ll toss and turn is if Vanderbilt gets knocked out of the tourney tonight.

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RandallHall March 21, 2008 at 9:33 am

And Dave, I don’t know if Beckham regrets his decision. I think he (and by he, I mean the people who counsel him) may have over-estimated his popularity in the States. I think they really believed he could come in and immediately raise MLS into the national consciousness, which has not yet happened. For instance, the season starts next week and there have been no previews published in SI, no single shred of news about the league on ESPN, and no widespread PR campaigns aimed at attracting fans. Unfortunately, the sports media just doesn’t care about MLS (just like they stopped caring about the NHL) because MLS doesn’t make them money, but because it doesn’t make them money, it gets no screen time, and so on and so forth.

It’s a vicious cycle and Becks thought he could break it. He will bring the fans out to see him, but unfortunately, they probably won’t come back the next week to see the Crew. It’s a shame, but a fact.

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Brian Zygo March 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Player/coach/owner . . . will the team be the Flint Tropics???

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