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That's what David Beckham's contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy was said to be worth when he signed it five years ago. The figure was inflated to the advantage of all parties: it presented David Beckham as one of the most valuable athletes on the planet, and it vaulted Major League Soccer into the stratosphere of soccer organizations for which money is no object, at least if some of it is imaginary.
That's what Kurt Badenhausen estimates David Beckham earned from endorsements during the same five-year period. Mr. Badenhausen is a senior editor for Forbes Magazine, which is all about business and money, so he's probably got the figure right. But what if he's wrong by, oh, $50 million? That would mean David Beckham still made $120 million telling people that Adidas, Samsung, Pepsi, and various other corporations are good.
Wherever David Beckham goes, he generates excitement. Having seen that excitement blossom in Manchester, Madrid, and Milan, and even, to some extent, in Los Angeles, the Qatari gentlemen who own Paris Saint-Germain, a French soccer team, let it be known that they would pay Mr. Beckham roughly twice what the Galaxy was annually paying him if he'd relocate. Reliable sources such as The Sun reported that the transfer was a lock.
But on Tuesday Nasser al-Khelaifi, the president of PSG, said, "David Beckham is with Los Angeles, and he is going to stay there." Boy, is The Sun red.
It might be supposed that David Beckham's decision was based on the imminent launch of his new line of underwear, except that David Beckham Bodywear will apparently be available in 40 countries, and as France likely will be one of them, promoting it in Paris would have made as much sense as doing so in Los Angeles. Perhaps more. Underwear. Paris.
But Mr. Beckham and his wife do not wish to move. Perhaps this makes sense, because it rains in Paris. It drizzles. Also, in the summer it sizzles. Or that's what I've heard.
It is supposed by sources even more reliable than The Sun that David Beckham, who is 36, will return to the Galaxy. The team. Not the sub-multi-million dollar universe from which he escaped long ago. Mr. Beckham has said that when he retires, he will buy an MLS team, the members of which, if the owner has any sense, will wear shorts that read "David Beckham Bodywear" across the seat.
(Editor's note: An earlier version of this commentary misquoted Forbes.com as reporting that David Beckham earned approximately $170 million in endorsement fees over the past year. $170 million was the total Beckham earned over the past five years.)
This program aired on January 4, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.
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