Friday, February 1, 2013

Beckham's PSG move about more than money

David Beckham has earned a lot of publicity both for his free-agency and, more recently, for his nascent move to French gazillionaire-club Paris Saint-Germain.  The fact is that even at age 37, he is easily the single-most recognizable footballer in the world and still earns his coin on the pitch with deadeye dead ball delivery and smart, if limited, movement.

Beckham’s move also earned notoriety because he became the first football figure to donate the entirety of his wages to a local children’s charity.  As usual with a public – and polarizing – figure, this has earned him both acclaim and skepticism.

It is true that Beckham has more money than, well, nearly everyone.  He’s an exceedingly wealthy man.  However donating his salary to a change agency is the first such move I can remember and he should be congratulated for his willingness to help those less fortunate than himself.  It’s a wonderful gesture.

The decision perhaps wasn’t a hard one to make.  The Beckhams will have donated a portion of money to not-for-profits and France’s controversial high-earner’s tax means that he likely would have only taken home 25% of his gross wage.  By donating that money straight to that charity, it would seem the beneficiary organization would receive a greater portion of those monies than Beckham would himself.

(c) Balanced Sports (author's own collection)
Whether it says that David Beckham doesn’t play football for the money is still up for debate.  The fact is that his salary earnings are far outstripped by his incredible endorsement potential (in this chart, Beckham is the fifth-highest endorsement earner of any athlete, behind Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Phil Mickelson and Kobe Bryant).  That he is still in the limelight and playing in a chic location suggests an undiminished ability to generate off-field income far more lucrative than the relative pittance he’s able to command for delivering balls to Zlatan.

David Beckham has also always been conscious of legacy.  He helped solidify soccer’s popularity in the US and recently announced he wouldn’t sign for a Premier League club because it would pit him against Manchester United.  He might be the athlete most aware of the way he is or will be perceived historically and offering weekly cheques with four or five zeroes in them is a publicity boon – for him, and his Qatari employers, whose public perception has suffered since controversially winning the rights to stage the 2022 World Cup.

It’s a genius move.  It’s also really worthwhile both financially and philosophically.  It’s likely there are more reasons at play than simply altruism, but when the results are so beneficent it just doesn’t matter – (most) everyone wins.

No comments:

Post a Comment