Saturday, July 14, 2007

Who gives a rats a...

They were a Hollywood couple living it up in Europe - the pop-star and the most famous athlete in his sport. A movie was named for him and she had been in a movie. Yesterday they arrived in America...Los Angeles to be specific, so that David Beckham could once again be the best player in his league...of course, playing in professional soccer in America is a few steps down from playing for REAL Madrid.

For the last couple of weeks, media outlets have been promoting the Beckhams like they're the second coming of the Beatles in the United States - at least one headline I saw invoked the term "British Invasion."

NBC is even airing...if it hasn't already aired, a reality show following Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham through the move to the "Colonies."

And the real question is...who cares?

The L.A. Galaxy are paying Beckham A-Rod type money - a $250 million contract - in the hopes of bringing more fans to a sport with marginal popularity in the United States (sorry Dave), but is king around the world. This smacks of the Yankees.

Beckham is, at best a re-tread. In January of this year, ESPN reported, "Beckham turned down a two-year contract extension from Spanish team Real Madrid, where his fading skills left him on the bench."

During an eight season run, largely as a regular starter with Manchester United, Beckham scored 61 goals - an average of 7.63 per season. In two seasons in Madrid he scored a total of seven, more than half a goal less than his annual average.

Maybe playing against the inferior talent in the United States he will experience a career renaissance. But once again, who cares?

The move smacks of desperation. It was tried once before and with Pele, a player that was much more marketable to the American people. Let's face it - yes, we are part of a culture that is fascinated with our celebrities, and with our celebrity athletes. But we like our athletes to be humble, to come from humble beginnings, to remain humble. Seldom do we like the "Rock Star" athletes.

Look at Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds - they polarize the public and part of the knock on them is the perception that they set themselves apart from their teams, that they are spoiled. Sure, we'll deal with the larger-than-life personas of the Deion Sanders of the world...they have a certain kitsch value. Beckham? With $250 million is just going to come off as a re-tread star who took advantage of an idiot American who was bidding against only himself for the services of a washed up once-great.

But then again...who cares?


falcon02520 said...

Soccer will never have a huge market in the United States. Atleast not in the next 20 years. The talk of Beckham coming over here is pointless and annoying. If Sportscenter wasn't the (and I quote) "MTV of sports", nobody would even talk about this. btw, is $250 million a good price for TV time, because it worked in that reguard only!!!

Kevin Smith said...

Hell...people spend less on Super Bowl advertising.