The Beckham Marketing Machine Rears Its Ugly HeadBy: The Offside | January 5th, 2009
Are you sick of the media hype for a loan signing whose main desired impact is in the team shop? Me too. So, apparently, is RAI tv. At least they were after approaching his handlers for an interview and, alarmingly, being told they’d have to cough up a bit of cash. RAI don’t pay for no interviews, even if it’s for GoldenBalls Himself.
Then they got his price tag: €500,000.
“We have never dealt with Beckham and he is not our desire either,” said the show’s organisers.
“We can exclude every possibility that Rai would spend that money on anyone, let alone Beckham.”
This brings up a more important question than whether or not Beckham and his handlers are out of their minds (they quite clearly are): is David Beckham bad for football?
I have a great deal of respect for Beckham the footballer. His hype will never match his ability or productivity – he’s the ultimate one-trick pony – but he’s a good teammate, a consummate professional and someone who clearly holds a deep respect for the values of the game. Not really too much more one can ask for in that department.
Problem is his marketing potential trumps the game. There is no reason a soon-to-be 34 year old fresh off two years in a lower quality league should have any hype surrounding a two month loan move. None whatsoever. And that’ll likely come out crystal clear against whomever he makes his competitive debut – Roma on the weekend, it’s presumed (considering he’s already suffering from fatigue in Milan’s camp, that’s up for debate). What should be an exciting game between two of Italy’s big clubs riddled with spectacular footballers whose greatest qualities still remain on the field will turn into an exercise in How many Beckham shirts can we sell?.
This is precisely why the game will be better off whenever Beckham decides to retire. A shame, because Beckham the professional is and always has been a worthy role model, and one due a great deal of respect outside the glitz and glamour of football’s marketing machines.