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Learning English - Words in the News
13 July, 2007 - Published 11:11 GMT
The Beckham Brand
Beckham goes to US

The former England football captain, David Beckham, will today start a new job - as the richest footballer in history. but most of that money will come from business activities not footballing performances. This report from Andy Farrant:

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While Beckham the footballer is worth millions of dollars, Beckham as a commercial brand is worth tens of millions. His basic salary as a player for his new club is a comparatively modest six million dollars a year. The rest is made up from advertising contracts, sponsorship deals and profit sharing.

While there's no doubt that Los Angeles Galaxy has bought 32 year old Beckham the footballer to raise its profile and that of Major League Soccer in general, it's also invested in Beckham the brand. His previous club, Real Madrid, can testify to the success of that brand. The Spanish club made six hundred million dollars in marketing and commercial activities in the four years he played there, an increase in profits of one hundred and thirty seven per cent.

Already, his new American club has attracted an extra twenty million dollars in sponsorship. But the big question is can the Beckham brand be successfully exported from Europe to America? He's better known in Europe, Africa and Asia than in the United States where football, or soccer as it's called, is a poor relation to basketball, baseball and American football. And a recent survey among Americans reveals that David Beckham is more famous for being married to a member of the Spice Girl pop group than for his footballing exploits.

Andy Farrant, BBC Sports News Reporter

Listen to the words

a commercial brand
something that can be marketed and sold in the same way a product is

basic salary
the money he is paid just for playing football

a comparatively modest
not really very much when compared to something else

advertising contracts
legal agreements that he will be paid to appear in commercials for certain products

sponsorship deals
agreements to be paid to wear clothing from a particular manufacturer, for example

profit sharing
agreements that if a company makes more money because of him, he will get a percentage of that money

to raise its profile
to bring it more to the attention of the public and make it more popular

testify to the success of
say that something was successful

a poor relation to
not as popular as

his footballing exploits
his achievements and successes as a footballer

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