Can FC Dallas Bend it Like Beckham?
Interesting piece this morning on SI.com by soccer writer Grant Wahl on the signing of David Beckham to the MLS. Much has been written about Beckham's pending arrival in the States since his signing to the L.A. Galaxy, most of which has focused on his exorbitant contract: $250 million over five years, which, in these parts, is known as A-Rod money.
Turns out that's a highly misleading figure, according to Wahl. Beckham's guaranteed salary will be around $50 million over the entire five-year length of the contract, Wahl writes, citing league sources. Beckham will also get 40 to 50 percent of Galaxy jersey sales and an undisclosed share of ticket revenues. The majority of the money he will make, however, will come from endorsements. All those things together may or may not add up to $250 million over five years.
So, how will this impact the MLS -- and FC Dallas, in particular?
Beckham's contract won't bankrupt the league, as some had feared. Of the $50 million he is guaranteed, only $2 million of it will come from the pooled resources of league owners. The other $48 million will come from Galaxy owner Phil Anschutz, who's got an estimated net worth of $7.8 billion. What is likely, and almost assured, is that Beckham will draw more attention to the league and put butts in the seats.
Last week, when the announcement was made that Beckham was coming to the Galaxy, FC Dallas sold 115 season tickets in two days that they directly attribute to the Beckham signing. The Galaxy games at Pizza Hut Park are not yet sold out, but team spokesman German Sferra says that's probably because the league has yet to release its full schedule. Overall, Sferra says season ticket sales are on pace to match what they had last year.
As for landing a player of Beckham's caliber, Sferra says the team is in negotiations with Dutch player Edgar Davids, who has played for some of the top European clubs during his career, including Ajax, Barcelona and Tottenham. Davids, 34, helped Ajax win the European Championship in 1995 and played for Holland in the 1998 World Cup in France.
"If it's a player that meets our needs and helps us win championships that's something we're interested in," Sferra says. "But we're not going to chase a player just because of his name." --Jesse Hyde