David Beckham is brand first, football second

GUY HAND
Last updated 19:11 21/11/2012
Beckham STD
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MOVING ON: David Beckham will leave the Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of the current season.

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In a team game, David Beckham is a one-man brand.

So it's no surprise A-League clubs are desperately waving amid the sea of hands trying to attract a global sporting icon with crossover appeal few, if any, other sportspeople have.

Even at $2 million or thereabouts for a 10-match stint, it's worth it.

The good that would come from Beckham playing in the A-League is hard to quantify, providing benefits for club and competition long after he left.

The club he played for would join elite company as one of six Beckham has played football for - an A-League club forever in the same conversation as Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan.

The city that hosts him, and presumably his family, follows on from Manchester, Madrid, Milan and Los Angeles.
Again, great company to keep.

But as much as those trying to lure Beckham are talking cash in hand, quality of life in their respective regions and their club's merits, the 37-year-old is these days brand first, football second.

What makes his mind up will be more about how much fragrance or how many high-end watches and replica shirts can be flogged than the pay cheque for a man worth a reported $400 million.

Look at it that way, and Australia becomes far less viable than Asia, the Middle East or a return to Europe.

All are regions where Beckham is also hugely popular, with bigger demographics to draw from and sell to.

Consider this as how important brand considerations are for Beckham.

Since signing a lifetime adidas contract in 2003, he has never played for a club which doesn't wear the company's jerseys.

Bad news for Kappa-sponsored Melbourne Heart and Central Coast Mariners, Perth Glory who are kitted out by X-Blades and Nike's Western Sydney Wanderers.

For the record, Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix are all adidas-sponsored but all have so far flatly denied they were ready to make a formal offer to Beckham's management.

The A-League's best assets may be timing and brevity, with Beckham finishing his LA Galaxy career in early December.

January is the midway point of the A-League - perfect to start and end a short-term stint before Beckham Inc. heads to a new, and perhaps more permanent market.

Whether Beckham does decide to come to the A-League or not, that it is even being considered shows how far the competition has come.

When Beckham and the LA Galaxy played their first exhibition match in Australia against Sydney FC in the competition's infancy, few would have even considered him actually playing in the A-League.

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Now, almost five years to the day later, it is being talked about worldwide and not being laughed at.

That is almost as much of a coup as it would be getting Beckham here.

- (Live Matches)

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