In the 2000s, David Beckham was one of the biggest names in the world. In 2007, at the age of 31, David Beckham took the next step in his career and signed for MLS side LA Galaxy for a reported $250m over a 5-year contract, shocking the footballing world. This is the story of how the signing of David Beckham to LA Galaxy completely revolutionised the MLS and football in America.
First off, how did Beckham actually impact the MLS? In short, Beckham's move to the MLS raised the profile of the league exponentially and, essentially, put the MLS on the map. His worldwide popularity and global brand appeal attracted widespread media coverage, generating a significant amount of interest for the league. In terms of numbers, the MLS saw a total season attendence increase of 293,423 people; in 2006, before Beckham signed for LA Galaxy, the MLS brought in 2,976,787 people. Whereas in the 2007 season, the season that Beckham signed for LA Galaxy, the MLS brought in 3,270,210 people.
If that wasn't enough, David Beckham's debut match against D.C United in 2007 garnered a whopping 45,596 people in attendance, and remains the highest attendance in D.C United history. In comparison, D.C United vs LA Galaxy in 2006 brought 24,159 people in attendance. But enough about attendances, because as part of Beckham's contract with LA Galaxy, the English superstar had the option to purchase an MLS franchise and in 2014, he exercised this option - this team? Inter Miami CF.
The purchase of Inter Miami from Beckham has yet again helped bring further attention and investment to the MLS, bringing it further credibility and prestige. His global recognition and current impact on football in America has made himself a well respected figure in the MLS, and his decision to buy Inter Miami signalled to many that the league was worth taking seriously. His ownership of Inter Miami also helps play a role in signing high-profile players to the league, such as Lionel Messi. His reputation as a former player and network within the footballing world have helped in recruiting talent from around the globe. This, in turn, strengthening the quality of the league and elevating its' status as an enticing division to play in.
In fact, something similar is happening right before our eyes. The Saudi Pro league is signing an abundance of talent as of right now, and the most recent acquisition of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio to Al-Hilal just adds to the list. The quality of the Saudi Pro League is improving rapidly, and it can all go down to one man - Cristiano Ronaldo.
The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo to Al Nassr in late December 2022 made the Portuguese legend the highest-paid player in football history, earning a whopping £173m per year. Ronaldo's move to Al Nassr sparked many other high profile players, such as Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante, Ruben Neves and many more to move to Saudi Arabia and begin a new journey in their careers. This can be likened to how David Beckham's move to LA Galaxy sparked footballing legends to move to America - for example, Alessandro Nesta, Kaka, Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane being most notable.