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SBD/May 17, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship
Will David Beckham's Retirement Affect His Marketing Appeal?
Published May 17, 2013
POUND FOR POUND: Brand valuation firm Brand Finance estimates Beckham could become a $500M brand now that he can turn his attention to commercial activities off the field. Beckham generated more than $46M of income last year from his commercial deals and endorsements (Brand Finance). M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment CEO Steve Martin said, "His appeal is so enduring and that won't change. From a brand perspective he is unique. He has an appeal that will go on for the next 15-20 years.” He added Beckham "conservatively" could earn $23-30M a year. There are so many dimensions to him -- family man, football, health and fitness, fashion, style -- that is why his appeal is so broad and his sponsorship partners are so broad. That will not suddenly go away” (London INDEPENDENT, 5/17). REUTERS’ Keith Weir noted Beckham has been “carefully planning for life after soccer.” Octagon VP/Strategy Joel Seymour-Hyde said, "It's fair to say that Beckham has not been selling himself as a footballer for some time" (REUTERS, 5/16).
CULTURAL PHENOM: In N.Y., Longman & Borden in a front-page piece note Beckham was “never the best player in the world but unsurpassed in his era as a cultural phenomenon.” He was the athlete with the “most crossover appeal at the moment when everyone could watch together, online or via satellite.” Beckham was “an international brand that smartly fused a handsomeness that bordered on beauty with athleticism, marketing savvy and an eager embrace of the role of pop idol.” Beckham’s brand, perhaps “more than any other athlete, was himself.” While Basketball HOFer Michael Jordan will “always be linked with Nike, Beckham’s business associations ran a spectacularly wide gamut” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/17). In San Diego, Mark Zeigler writes, “Beckham didn’t need to be committed to soccer. He was bigger than that. He epitomized the modern celebrity athlete.” Fans will “debate how good he really was” on the field, but there will be no debate “about his popularity or his relevance” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/17). In N.Y., Stefan Bondy writes Beckham’s “greatest feat, or perhaps it was the accomplishment of his handlers, was getting people to know his name and face without ever watching him play” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/17).