Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Spend It On Beckham

Great Depression family.

Let’s get to the skinny of it right off the bat. Will David Beckham finally make soccer in this country a spectator sport? No. There, I said it. Call me an idiot in a couple years if I’m wrong.

Will David Beckham signing with the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer make the league more popular than it already is? Of course. Galaxy games--which are already at 85 to 90 percent capacity--will be sold out, and on the road, his opponents will be able to use Beckham games to sell less desirable match-ups.

But the real question isn’t, “What will happen in Year 1?” The real question is, “What will happen in years 2, 3, 4 and 5, and after Beckham leaves the league?”

My prediction: Beckham will get people out, but when the casual audience who is initially intrigued realizes that it’s not worth their time and money to see him make one awesome move and perhaps score one goal in a game, we’ll be back to the fan base that watched the sport before Beckham came.

We live in a SportsCenter world and especially a SportsCenter America. What do I mean by that? I mean that we go to games for highlights. That’s why soccer doesn’t work for us. We’re not excited by 0-0. We’d rather watch Arena Football.

So when an intrigued person goes to a game “starring David Beckham” and finds out that all they get for their ticket is one cool move and maybe a goal, they’re not going to go back.

In the last five years, Beckham has played in 212 games and has scored 36 goals. Which means that he only scored in 17 percent of the games he played in. Can you imagine if that was the case with LeBron James?

So no matter how big a star David Beckham is, soccer fundamentally doesn’t work with the American sporting mindset and that’s why the only major sport the MLS can be more relevant than is perhaps the NHL. That would be a big step for this league.

Now let’s get into this $250 million number. I don’t believe it. Sure Galaxy owner Phil Anschutz is a billionaire, but if he pays Beckham anything more than $10 million a year in salary, he’s just throwing away money. On endorsements, I think Beckham can earn $30 million a year. But this idea of getting a piece of ticket revenue? How much could he really get? The Galaxy are already at 85 percent capacity. And let’s talk about jersey sales. If they sell a ton of them, Beckham makes $3 million tops.

Gambling Site Shuts Down U.S. Business: is a giant. They're very likely the largest sports betting Web site. Now we can say "were." Why? Well, because the folks at Pinnacle have shut down their U.S. operations, which makes up about 65 percent of their business. was well known as the site that had the highest limits and paid the bettors the fastest.

I'm very aware that the recently passed Internet Gambling Enforcement Act makes it harder for banks to transfer money to gambling sites, but it doesn't work that way anyway. There are plenty of intermediary money payment systems that keep sites like and alive, and we haven't heard anything about any of their execs being captured, like CEO David Carruthers. Although it looks like a preemptive strike, this industry never works like that, but we don't know what's up yet. All they're saying now is that all the money in accounts is coming out and all the payouts will be made.

Questions?  Comments?