David Beckham agreed to a five-year deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy, which CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell called "the biggest thing that has ever come to Major League Soccer."
Beckham, the former English captain who also starred for Manchester United, will join the Galaxy after his contract with Real Madrid club expires on June 30. Los Angeles opens its season April 8 in Houston.
"This will definitely drum up interest," Rovell said. "He'll be the most expensive, most valuable player in the league. But will it make the sport a mainstream sport? The answer is no."
The move was announced following the end of talks on extending the 31-year-old English midfielder's contract with the Spanish club. MLS recently changed its rules on salary caps, clearing the way for Beckham to sign a lucrative deal. British news reports put the Galaxy deal at $250 million.
"Beckham's motivation is obviously that he's older," Rovell said. "He's not as embraced as he once was in Europe, either with Real Madrid or the English national team, they just dropped him as captain."
Still, in the endorsement and fashion world, Beckham is seen as more of a trendsetter than New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, according to the Davie-Brown Index. Beckham has endorsement deals with the likes of Pepsi and Adidas.
Rovell said Beckham holds a stake in the David Beckham Academy, which is housed in Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, where the Galaxy play.
Major league soccer has always had a hard time attracting fans and profits in the U.S. despite the huge interest in the sport by children. "Once people stop playing they don't watch it," Rovell said.