The FIFA World Cup, at its core, is about footballers and international competition. However, much like the Olympic Games, the tournament has evolved into a much larger phenomenon that extends beyond the boundaries of sport. You will notice in the coming weeks leading up to South Africa 2010, an increased presence of football based advertising and perhaps start to become sick of the sight of some of the world best and most marketable players such as Messi, Torres and Ronaldo even before a ball is kicked.
Without question, the World Cup has developed into an enormous economic event for the host nation and sponsors also see it as a way to improve their financial performance. Using players such as the aforementioned ensures heightened exposure for brands and aides product sales significantly.
Undoubtedly the most marketable footballer of them all, David Beckham, will not be taking part in the tournament (as a player that is) due to a well documented ruptured Achilles.
Beckham’s absence from the tournament is a huge blow to the numerous organisations that pay the England midfielder millions of dollars each year to advertise their products. Despite his reported attendance at the tournament in a ‘team mascot’ and England 2018 ambassador capacity, the impact of his absence from the field of play will have a significant economic impact on his sponsors and will ensure a great deal of work for his management company, Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment.
Football today is about far more than the game itself. The business of football dominates the headlines, be it a club going broke, or a player establishing an image rights holding company to cash in on his name. Indeed the many business interests maintained by top players these days may be seen as an unwelcome distraction from their day to day work. Agents are key players in off the pitch activity and provide a service to help ensure the financial security of their players when their playing days are over.
Beckham has led the way and the effect he has had on the role of sports advertising and sponsorship is ground breaking. Where Michael Jordan flourished, and Tiger Woods excelled, Beckham continues to make strides. In addition to his talents as a player and his famed good looks, he has been helped by superb management throughout his career. Despite rumours of affairs during his time in Madrid, Beckham did not lose any sponsors, likewise early on in his career when his popularity was at a low post France 1998. Brand Beckham has been cleverly developed and that is thanks mainly to good management. He is a marketing man’s dream and where Capello can bring in Walcott, Lennon or Wright-Phillips on the right flank, to many brands, Beckham is irreplaceable.
So, is Beckham’s injury a devastating blow to his national team? No. Terrible news for his sponsors? Yes.