Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bank it like Beckham

Remember the feeling when you first heard about A-Rod's 10-year, $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers? But that was baseball. As much as the steroids scandal has hurt the sport, people still watch baseball.

At least, they watch more than soccer.

David Beckham just signed a five year, $250 million contract, the richest ever in sports. And he plays soccer. Soccer!

In the United States, soccer will never be able to compete at the level of the NFL, NBA, baseball or even hockey. As a matter of fact, I watched more arena football in 2006 than professional soccer.

For the Los Angeles Galaxy to make this deal, they will probably have to go the way of the New York Red Bulls, who sold their team name to a sponsor. But perhaps it won't be that bad. I'm sure people will race to the stadium to see Beckham play for the Los Angeles Milky Ways.

The most important thing to remember about this contract is that it is getting more attention from ESPN and the rest of the media than the MLS season got all last season. Does anyone know who won their championship last year?

My point exactly.

Now I'm sure some soccer enthusiasts love this move. Maybe they'll sell a few extra tickets to games. They might even double that number if girlfriends tag along to get a glipse of D-Beck.

Those extra tickets still won't cut it. Beckham simply isn't worth $250 million. Soccer isn't worth $250 million. This could be the biggest waste of money in the history of sports. The most coverage the MLS will get in all of 2007 is right now because of this contract.

This isn't a move that doinked off the cross-bar, barely missing the goal. This contract sailed so far over the net, a kid in the 23rd row just got hit the face and now his frantic mother is trying to stop his bloody nose.

This isn't about trying to win a title. This isn't about improving a team. This is about trying to make a splash. Congratulations, soccer. You've made a splash. Too bad all the water has just been knocked out of the pool.

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