7/24/08

In year 1, Beckham on target for MLS

Becks arrived in the USA in mid-July and where Beckham goes, the news and entertainment media follow. When Beckham plays, the TV ratings and attendance go up.

In an exclusive interview with USA Today, he says he's here for the long haul, hoping to leave a lasting impact on MLS and in U.S. soccer. He already had opened a branch of the David Beckham Academy, a soccer school in Los Angeles, before his arrival.

"So far, I'm happy," Beckham said to USA Today. "Attendances are up. I also think people are getting more interested in the game from what I hear, what I've seen. Everywhere I go, they're almost-sold-out stadiums, which is great."

The New York Daily News reported the English midfielder is now co-owner of a race horse with fellow ESPY presenters Danica Patrick and Will Ferrell, that was news to him. However, he does have the option for a 2% stake, ESPY gift-bag organizer Matthew Brady says. Beckham didn't realize as of Friday that the option was in his gift bag. Seems like until now he was only interested in greyhounds results...

The attention and attendance aren't quite what they were when Beckham-mania first hit the USA. SportsBusiness Journal reports ESPN2's MLS TV ratings rose from an average of 246,000 viewers for the first 13 matches in 2007 to an average of 289,000 viewers through 15 matches in 2008.

MLS spokesperson Will Kuhns says sales of Galaxy jerseys with Beckham's name on them reached more than 300,000 worldwide in 2007.

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