David Beckham impact on MLS 'immeasurable'

Beckham to play final game for LA Galaxy this weekend

David Beckham will bid farewell to the Los Angeles Galaxy and Major League Soccer after this weekend's season-ending MLS Cup final, having “over-delivered by every measure” during his six-year spell.

That is the opinion of MLS executive vice-president of communications Dan Courtemanche, who believes Beckham's impact on the league's exponential growth over the last half-decade to be incalculable.

Since 2006, when Beckham joined Galaxy from Real Madrid, the MLS has increased from 12 to 19 teams and seen a 231% increase in merchandise sales.

Expansion fees have risen from USD10million to USD40million and this weekend's final between the Galaxy and Houston Dynamo will be televised in 157 different countries, a record in the competition's 17-year history.

Courtemanche told the Press Association: "David has over-delivered by every measure, specifically with the media coverage MLS has received; there is arguably not a football fan now who does not know the LA Galaxy.

"David broke through like no other athlete we have seen in north American soccer. With the global appeal he has he was able to put the spotlight on Galaxy and MLS in every continent on the planet.

"We have tried to measure the media coverage and put a dollar value on it, but that is just impossible due to the global appeal David has. His type of impact is invaluable and immeasurable."

Courtemanche rejects the notion that Beckham's impact could have been even greater if it had not been punctuated by a pair of widely unpopular loan spells at Milan.

When Beckham returned to the Galaxy for the first time, some supporters expressed their displeasure at his apparent lack of commitment to the club's cause, although his return did coincide with their rise to a period of unprecedented success.

Courtemanche said: "There were many sceptics in the global football community when David came to play for Galaxy. They questioned if he had come here to retire and settle down.

"The fact is, David went back twice to play on loan with one of the biggest clubs in the world and made an impact, clearly illustrating that he remained a world-class player and could contribute to any club on this planet.

"That proof directly boosted the credibility of the Galaxy and Major League Soccer. There are positives and negatives in every move, but overall the credibility of the MLS was enhanced by his loans."

Life after Beckham should hold no fears for the MLS according to Courtemanche, who added that the organisation may not have seen the last of the player, with talks over projected involvement in an expansion franchise ongoing.

"David was a factor in the success of the expansion clubs but we believe the Seattle Sounders will continue to average more than 43,000 fans next year, and the Portland Timbers will still sell out when David is gone," Courtemanche added.

"But we certainly believe the MLS can continue to have a relationship with David after his playing days are over. The [franchise] discussions are preliminary, but we'd like to have David Beckham as part of the MLS family for a long time to come."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
filmReview: In the face of all-round devastation, even Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson appears a little puny
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bright lights, big city: Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles by dusk
books
Sport
Harry Kane makes Paul Scholes' Premier League team of the season
footballPaul Scholes on the best players, managers and goals of the season - and the biggest disappointments
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor