Unprofessional Foul


April 27, 2010

$250 Million Doesn’t Buy What It Used To

Gotta Do Something With All That Free Time

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.

About the Author

Precious Roy


  1. jean guy kekette

    He was always a mediocre player who fit in well and had one talent on the field: free kicks.

    Can you please tabulate how many goals he has scored on FK’s in an inferior league?

    Feel free to use two hands if you feel the need to count that high. Im guessing you wont.

  2. A bit harsh since I’d bet he’d pay $634k a game right now not to have a shattered achilles AND with all the publicity and shirt sales (especially when you factor in the promo codes and coupons they got from sending him to AC Milan) the Galaxy have probably had their money’s worth.

    I have only ever seen him play live once. Along with 90 minutes of working harder than the rest of the galaxy put together, some perfectly placed long balls, this is what I saw- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOoaorOufhk if you have any idea how inflated that crazy mls teamgiest ball is then you will appreciate what a goal this is.

    And while I’m here, and it’s kind of related, Donovan really sucks at life and football and I’m disappointed that UF has changed it’s tune post Everton and pre WC. I know it is good to rally the troops and be positive before the 7-1 thrashing june 12 but you know as well as I do that Everton was some sort of cosmic fluke and not the Landon you all know (and love?)

  3. Precious Roy

    Never said he wasn’t a good investment in strict financial terms. The Galaxy probably recouped his first four years of salary (the $6.5M figure)in shirt sales and ticket sales after maybe the first season give or take.

    That’s even more remarkable when you consider how little soccer he’s actually played for the Galaxy.

    As for Donovan, most of us around here did a 180 because of how he performed at Everton. We don’t think it was flukey how well he fit in on Merseyside. But we’ll reserve the right to re-revise depending maybe on how he performs in South Africa. Still, any failings there will probably be down to the fact that we have no credible world class strikers.

  4. as well as the striker excuse…I think you will string up Mr bradley

  5. Spectator

    In terms of evaluating talent, Bradley has been fine… In terms of man management during games, Bradley is a disaster.

  6. ebullientfatalist

    What have been the attendant benefits of having Beckham at the club, aside from increased shirt sales and ticket revenue? Have Galaxy reinvested that money into youth player development and an academy? I don’t mind the high cost of Beckham if an emphasis on the future of American soccer comes with it.

  7. James T

    Beckham did have an academy running in Carson, CA, though it closed last year, and closed very, very quietly.


    So, the answer is a resounding no.

  8. James T

    (assuming of course that the Galaxy aren’t doing anything, which I don’t believe they are. Could be wrong though.)

  9. Ryan

    @Spectator Interesting. I almost take an opposite view. My biggest issues have been with team selection and roster call ups. I think once he’s on the field, his tactics are fine, if unremarkable.

  10. spectator

    @Ryan: Well, with roster management, Bradley relies more on his staff and the US has such a limited talent pool anyway, so it’s sort of a backhanded compliment. But, I do think he’s done a decent job of rotating quality players in and giving them a chance to compete for places. I hate that he has his son penciled as a guaranteed first teamer, but otherwise I have no real complaints. I do reserve the right to complain when he sends out a lackluster 4-4-2 at the World Cup, however.

  11. James T

    I used to mock the Bradley nepotism, but Michael’s more than earned his spot.

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