Here’s what we know about David Beckham the player: his array of handlers at 19 Entertainment were always tops about keeping the global icon in the news. Even when there wasn’t much newsiness in the “news,” they faithfully, skillfully worked the media levers to keep the man’s Q rating and brand appeal at military grade strength.
And here’s what we are discovering about Beckham’s post-playing days: nothing is going to change as far as keeping his name in the news and handlers skillfully working the media levers.
To wit: About once a month or so, we read about David Beckham, MLS expansion and Miami. It’s pretty much always the same story, with possibly just a smidge of new info.
But that’s the evil genius of Simon Fuller and 19 Entertainment: They know how it all works, how to inch the story forward ever so slowly – always keeping the batteries fresh and the lights illuminating Beckham’s brand machine.
Today comes the latest clicks driver, the next story that says, essentially, “David Beckham wants an MLS expansion franchise, and it will probably be in Miami.” This one is from Associated Press’ UK-based reporter Rob Harris.
This is no criticism on Harris. Any reporter who can move the story along, even a little, is a fool not to exploit the opportunity. And this one does say that Beckham has “picked Miami.” That, coming from an unnamed source, scoots the story forward just a bit.
Thing is, that is far, far from official; more on that in a second.
Harris also reported that Fuller, of “American Idol” creation fame, “will be a significant shareholder.” Truth is, Fuller has long been significantly involved in every major Beckham business venture, and he was always going to be involved here at some level.
I spoke to MLS executive vice president Dan Courtemanche late this afternoon. He told me Beckham has yet to reveal the particular makeup of his ownership group.
Courtemanche declined to say whether Beckham had made any official proclamations to MLS of Miami as the primary target.
“We are continuing our discussions with David Beckham regarding future ownership of an MLS expansion team,” Courtemanche said. “Our policy regarding discussions with potential expansion team owners is that we keep those conversations private until the individuals we are speaking with decide they want to go public with their plans. Thus, it is more appropriate for David Beckham to comment on his plans.”
My guess: Beckham can say today that Miami is it, his one true MLS expansion love! That he adores Miami and wants to be in the land of pastels and believes South Florida soon will be Seattle, Portland and Toronto FC (circa 2008) all rolled into one.
But if Beckham runs more numbers and decides tomorrow that Miami just doesn’t work, for whatever reason, he can certainly change his mind. MLS isn’t going to turn the man down – well, MLS can’t contractually, even if it wanted to – because the object of Beckham’s geographical affections has shifted elsewhere.
In other words, if the next Beckham-MLS expansion story says he is now considering San Diego or San Francisco or San Antonio or wherever, MLS will probably respond with, “Sounds good. … Let’s get a look at that stadium plan!”
And if Beckham does such a thing, that will make a good story for Fuller or one of his 19 Entertainment handlers to leak, too.