Remember when David Beckham signed that 5-year $250M contract with the LA Galaxy? It was January of 2007 in case you’ve forgotten, or simply don’t care.
Okay, so that $250M number was totally ridiculous as it included all the contingent revenues (merchandising, etc.) he would get a cut of. His annual pay as a player is only $6.5M per year (that’s $5.5 in base salary and another unspecified $1M).
But the media loved that $250M number and latched on to it. So for the sake of sensationalism and because we’re part of the media we’re going to use it.
So what has $50M a year bought bought the Galaxy?
Oh, now is probably a good time to tell you that Becks is saying he won’t be playing football again until November, meaning he’ll all but miss the MLS regular season. Said Goldenballs: “My mentality is to kind of push it and get moving and running and soon as possible. But it’s an injury that has to take time to heal.”
Let’s us translate that for you: I’m going to make it sound like I’d like to rehab, but in reality I’m totally cool to sit on my ass, not play in MLS, and collect checks from the folks at AEG.
Remember Beckham actually turned up injured his inaugural season and didn’t see the pitch in an MLS match until August 9, 2007 against DC United. That year he played in just five—including the last two only as a late sub—of the Galaxy’s 17 remaining games after his season at Real Madrid was over.
The next year, the Galaxy actually got decent value for Beckham as he appeared in 25 of the club’s 30 regular season matches. That off-season he returned to Europe in a loan deal to Milan and didn’t come back to the Galaxy until July 16, 2009. He played in 11 of the Galaxy’s 13 remaining matches.
This season he will obviously play in zero of the Galaxy’s 30 matches.
So let’s do the math (and we’re excluding all playoffs here). Since signing with MLS, David Beckham has played in 41 league matches. Now allowing for his finishing of the 2007 season with Madrid, but not allowing for his finishing the second-half of the seasons with Milan (because really, even though we’re not denying the legitimacy of Beckham’s desire to play in the World Cup, the loans also seemed like a transparent way of weaseling out of his commitment to MLS), that’s 41 played out of 107 regular season matches, or 38% if you’re into percentages.
I actually went through the archives and tabulated these manually, so we’re opening ourselves for crosscheck here. But even if we miscounted one or two, it’s not going to change the fact of the matter that Becks has played in about 40% of the Galaxy games since inking his $250M deal.
And if you want to believe that Becks reaches the full value of that contract, his pay rate works out to about $4.9 million per game (that’s based on a $200M total, which is the pro-rated amount through the end of this the fourth season).
Even if you use the far more sane $6.5M number—what he’s actually getting paid as a player—it still works out to $634,000 a game.
Not bad work if you can get it… then avoid as much of it as possible.
We’re not implying that Beckham isn’t legitimately injured. He clearly shredded his Achilles. We’re just saying he’s really not playing much for the Galaxy. Actually the numbers are saying that, we’re just adding them up for you.