Major League Soccer's top
executive said he is "uncertain" the sport's English superstar
David Beckham will stay with Los Angeles Galaxy given the
financial lure to join French club Paris Saint-Germain.
"I hope he remains in Major League Soccer and continues his
career in the United States; sitting here today I'm not sure that
that will happen," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber, speaking in
New York at Reuters Global Media Summit.
Beckham is at the end of a lucrative five-year contract, which
made him the highest paid player in the league. His average annual
compensation during his contract was $6.5 million.
Beckham's team, the L.A. Galaxy, won the MLS Cup championship
earlier this month. Garber said he spoke to Beckham at length
after the game but it was down to his talks with LA Galaxy
Beckham, arguably the biggest star to play the game in the
United States since Brazil's Pele signed in 1975, has said he
would make a decision once the MLS season concluded.
Paris Saint-Germain, which is backed by a wealthy Qatari owner,
has reportedly offered Beckham an 18-month deal worth roughly
$17.9 million, according to the Daily Mail.
Beckham has shouldered high expectations since agreeing to
join the MLS five years ago, and the relationship between star,
league and fans has run into rough spots along the way. But the
2011 season was seen as a validation of the experiment, with
Beckham playing well and the L.A. Galaxy winning the title.
"It's been a great five-year experience for us, he's delivered
on all the expectations that we've had," said Garber, who was
named commissioner in 1999 after spending 16 years in the NFL's
Since 1999, Garber has added nine new expansion teams,
including Montreal next season, and overseen a sharp rise in
attendance and TV ratings. Last season, the average attendance for
MLS games rose 7 percent, and at 17,800 is now higher than the
average attendance at National Hockey League or National
Basketball Association games.
The league recently signed a three-year TV deal with
Comcast Corp's NBC Sports Group worth roughly $10
million a year. Its contracts with both that company and Walt
Disney Co's ESPN expire following the 2014 season.
While Garber said he would look at the next round of deals as
the current ones moved closer to expiration, he added that MLS
would consider starting its own soccer network, following in the
footsteps of the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball.
popularity in the U.S. is climbing, and Garber said the league
will eventually be successful and popular enough to launch its own
stand-alone soccer channel similar to News Corp's Fox
Meanwhile, the league is continuing to expand its roster of
teams in the United States and is currently looking to add a
second soccer team in the New York City area to join the New
York/New Jersey Red Bulls, Garber said.
"We are working closely with the city, trying to find sites to
build the stadium, I think it will be a record franchise fee paid
for that team," he said.
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