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David Beckham - Big Business

He started a new trend when he travelled to the United States in 2007 to play for LA Galaxy in the American League. At first glance, it was a step down the ladder. But it was with good reason that David Beckham shortly gave up European soccer. Quite simply, it took soccer to new heights. And created the foundation for his personal business. He is still making his mark on the world of football.
David Beckham - Big Business

There is a before and an after. Because before David Beckham, 48, left Real Madrid for LA Galaxy, European football - or soccer, as it's known over there - was a dusty affair that was no match for Europe. Neither athletically nor financially. The American MLS league was often described as the place where European stars went in the autumn of their careers for the last big pay check.

But when Beckham returned to Europe after 98 games, 18 goals and 42 assists, he had managed to kick-start a development that had turned soccer into a lucrative business for American clubs. From a sporting perspective, he was perhaps just the breath of fresh air needed to elevate American soccer to an international level. Whether that's Beckham's merit alone remains unknown. But the USA is now a regular participant at the World Cup. That is, apart from a missed qualification in 2018.

David Beckham - Big Business
David Beckham, together with his wife Victoria Beckham, is worth almost one billion dollars.

The Beckham Rule

Back in 2007, David Beckham kicked off a trend of massive investment in the various clubs in Major League Soccer. Today, there is an average of more than 20,000 spectators at each match of the season. And the Atlanta club even lets more than 50,000 fans go through the turnstiles at each match. This also means that the value of the teams is greatly increased. On average, according to Forbes, an MLS team is worth almost 300 million dollars.

But this is of course a development that has taken place against a somewhat poor background. Not least because the American league introduced a wage cap back in 1996. A kind of financial fair play rule that meant that clubs were not allowed to pay players the same astronomical sums that we have seen in Europe. But when David Beckham signed a contract with LA Galaxy in 2007, the ceiling burst. The Designated Player Rule gave clubs the opportunity to buy three players who would not be counted under the wage cap.

The first to benefit from the rule was David Beckham. It was undoubtedly a big step down in terms of team level, and therefore you would think that it was a big salary package that enticed the Englishman. It was - absolutely. With a salary of 6.5 million dollars a year, he became the highest paid player in MLS, but it was nowhere near the same base salary he earned at Real Madrid.

David Beckham - Big Business
Over the years, David Beckham has decorated his body with 67 different tattoos.

In return, he was given some clauses and purchase options in his contract with the LA Galaxy that could benefit him in the future - and they indeed have. In his contract, David Beckham was also given a cut of merchandise sales, tickets, food and drink at matches and other sponsorship deals in the MLS.

This helped boost his earnings considerably.

According to PLBOLD.dk, David Beckham earned around $255 million during his time at LA Galaxy - or the equivalent of a $50 million annual salary. This made him the world's highest paid football player. At the time. Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have long since crushed that record.

Genius move

But Beckham was sharper than that. Another stroke of genius in his contract gave him a highly lucrative opportunity to buy an MLS club at a very low value. And when he finally hung up his soccer boots - after two seasons on loan to AC Milan and one season at Paris Saint-Germain - he returned to the US and bought an MLS franchise for just $25 million. This became Inter Miami CF, which he and a few other investors established in 2014.

For various reasons, it took a while to get MLS approval and the club couldn't play its inaugural match until 2020.

David Beckham - Big Business
1. David Beckham is often a VIP guest at Formula 1 races around the world. Here with Christian Horner from the Red Bull team. 2. He played a crucial role in Inter Miami CF signing Lionel Messi.

Attracted Lionel Messi to the USA

David Beckham really got Major League Soccer off the ground. And in the years to come, several European stars played in the American league. These included Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Sebastian Giovinco, David Villa, Kaka, Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Didier Drogba.

But the big scoop was delivered by David Beckham when this summer, Inter Miami CF announced none other than Lionel Messi as the club's newest investment. Exactly how deep the club had to dig to afford one of the world's best football players is not known. But the Miami Herald newspaper has suggested an amount between 125 million and 150 million dollars. On the other hand, Messi has not been given the same opportunity as Beckham to eventually buy his own club. But another lucrative clause in the contract not only allows Messi to earn from the club's merchandise sales. He also gets a percentage of a lucrative TV streaming deal between MLS and Apple that was struck last year.

A relatively simple clause in Beckham's 2007 contract with LA Galaxy turned out to be a financial stroke of genius. Not that he's short of money. His personal wealth is estimated to be around 450 million dollars. Add to that an annual income of around 50 million. His wife is at about the same level: Victoria Beckham aka Posh Spice has a net worth of around 400 million, so the couple will hardly be short of bread and butter.

David Beckham - Big Business
David Beckham and his wife Victoria have successfully forged new careers in the business world.

Mr. Big Business

When David Beckham played his last game for Paris Saint-Germain in 2013, he had created one of the best brands around his own person. A brand that became the perfect launching pad for a post-football career in the business world.

There isn't an advertising deal with Beckham that doesn't become a small news story in the world's news media. His achievements on the football pitch have left such a deep impression that fans, especially in England, will forgive him for everything – and not least, they continue to buy the products that he and his wife Victoria produce themselves as well as those they have advertising deals with.

Even during his active career, he was popular in advertising. As early as 1997, he signed an advertising deal with Brylcreem that earned the then 22-year-old a staggering £4 million.

Not bad for a young footballer born in northeast London in the spring of 1975. His parents - kitchen fitter David Edward Beckham and hairdresser Sandra West - could hardly have imagined the popularity and wealth their son would achieve.

But they have played a vital role in his career path. First and foremost, his parents were fanatical Manchester United fans, often traveling the 200 miles from Leytonstone in north-east London to Old Trafford to watch the games.

Today, David Beckham is a metrosexual fashion icon who has arrangements with a number of global brands such as H&M, Pepsi, Armani, Gillette and Tudor watches. And, of course, Adidas who he helped land a partnership with Major League Soccer when he joined the LA Galaxy in 2007. In 2021 alone, the revenue from these deals had over $20 million dollars quietly flowing into his account.

In 2014, Beckham launched his own company, DB Ventures, which handles most of his post-football career. This includes the deals with Adidas, the Tudor watch brand and his own whiskey brand, Haig Club.

He has also invested in various companies, including a stake in the Major League Soccer team Inter Miami CF through his investment company Beckham Brand Holdings. Beckham has invested in a number of business ventures, including Guild Esports, a UK-based e-sports organization that went public in 2020 - he serves as co-owner and director of the company.

In addition, he has invested in tech start-ups such as Zenga and MyFitnessPal, as well as in gastronomy with the opening of a restaurant in London's Mayfair district.

He co-founded the production company Studio 99, which creates content across various platforms including social media, television and film.

In 2020, Beckham launched his own line of grooming products called House 99. The line includes a range of products such as hair care, skin care and beard care items and is sold through various retailers as well as online.

No wonder that along with Victoria Beckham's clothing designs and modelling career, the couple has built a personal fortune approaching one billion dollars. In comparison, the British King Charles III has a personal fortune of 'just' 750 million dollars.

The millions are rolling in

But what does an ex-football star spend his money on? For Beckham, of course, it's all about the classic virtues: real estate! Their most expensive house is their London residence near Holland Park, which is estimated to cost around £255 million.

But when the weather in London gets too gloomy, he and his family can head to one of his two homes in Dubai. The couple own an apartment in the world's tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, and a villa in the tree-shaped Palm Jumeirah, known for its lavish hotels, posh apartment towers and high-end international restaurants.

And when he's taking care of business for Inter Miami CF, well, he can stay in his own penthouse apartment.

Another passion is memorabilia. He especially buys 'stuff' related to Elvis Presley. He has entire rooms in his homes dedicated to Elvis knick-knacks and costumes. Another hobby is his collection of rare jewellery. He often buys custom-made jewellery for hundreds of thousands of dollars. And often presents them as gifts to family and friends.

Together with Victoria Beckham, he has also built up a sizeable art collection. The entire collection is created with a 'love theme' and, according to British media, includes paintings, portraits and sculptures by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Banksy.

Artnet reported that in 2014 Beckham paid 780,000 dollars for a commissioned painting titled Daddy's Girl as a birthday present for his daughter, Harper.

Another 'hobby' is his tattoos, which have also cost him a tidy sum. According to Men's Health, Beckham has more than 67 tattoos. He has completely covered both of his arms, and he also has ink on his neck, back, chest, ribs and even his hand.

And it almost goes without saying that he has some nice wheels. His garage holds both Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and even an Aston Martin V8 Vantage X-pack Volante.

But all things considered, the Beckhamian afterlife is still deeply rooted in the world of football. With Inter Miami CF, American soccer is making its presence felt in a world that has, so far, been dominated by the big European clubs.

This could be David Beckham's big legacy.