Posted by: chasker | July 12, 2007

The Beckhams Have Landed

I was down in Southern California today for work, and the hotel I was staying at provided a copy of the Orange County Register. The front page and the sports section were dominated by news of David Beckham’s imminent arrival in LA and unveiling to the media.
There has been a lot of speculation as to his impact on football (sorry, soccer) here in the US. I have no doubts that he will be successful – I lived in Thailand when he was playing at his peak for Manchester United, and he was literally worshipped like a god in that country. In fact, one Buddhist Temple in Bangkok had a golden statue of David Beckham made and people flocked from far and wide. In 1999 my wife and I were in Vietnam on holiday, and, in a town that had few signs of anything not Vietnamese guess whose image adorned the bus in that town – yep – David Beckham.
His appeal transcends his footballing talents, and I am sure that his and his wife’s marketability in the US will only grow. That has to be great news for the LA Galaxy, Major League Soccer, and the US in general. After all, in a country where 18 millions people play the game it does not dominate the TV audiences. Will Mr Beckham’s arrival change that over night? Probably not, but I would be willing to bet that in 10 years’ time the state of professional soccer in the US and the time devoted to it on the networks will be very different from where it is today.


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