David Beckham has already helped the Los Angeles Galaxy recoup nearly three times the value of his annual salary-and he won't even kick a ball in MLS until July. "We were never worried about our financial commitment," said Tim Leiweke, chief executive of Galaxy owner Anschutz Entertainment Group. "We've already made our money back."
And then some. AEG says Becks has allowed the club to sell an additional 7,000 season tickets this season, worth about $5 million. After increasing the price of premium seats by 48 percent, AEG expects revenue to double to around $10 million. Add to that the five-year, $20 million sponsorship agreement the Galaxy struck with Herbalife-also attributable to the presence of Beckham, according to the nutritional products company-and you get a grand total of $14 million in 2007 revenue thanks to David Beckham, $9 million more than his annual salary. And that figure doesn't take same-day ticket or merchandise sales into consideration.
Given that return, we can understand why AEG is ready to make another big investment in a designated player. No wonder Zinedine Zidane is once again being linked with MLS; AEG certainly has the means to bring him over-in fact Leiweke was recently quoted by Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport as saying, "[Zidane] knows our door will always be open. His contract won't be a problem." The ball is now in Zizou's court.