Tuesday, September 08, 2009

David Beckham and the Montreal Impact?

Sean Gordon of The Globe and Mail reported this afternoon that David Beckham may be looking into joining forces with Joey Saputo in the Montreal Impact's bid for MLS. The story's apparently based off this report from Jack Bell of The New York Times over at the paper's Goal blog. Here's the money quote from Bell's piece:

"According to a person with knowledge of Beckham’s planning who spoke on condition of anonymity because of concern about jeopardizing a potential deal, Beckham, 34, and his management team at 19 Entertainment (led by Simon Fuller) and Creative Artists Agency (led by Jeff Frasco) are interested in being partners with Joey Saputo, the owner of the Montreal Impact. The Impact plays in the United Soccer Leagues First Division, one tier down from M.L.S."

Obviously, Montreal's push for MLS is no secret, and it's been gaining plenty of force lately. The financing struggles of George Gillett, owner of Liverpool, soon-to-be-former owner of the Montreal Canadiens, and Saputo's initial partner in his bid for MLS are no secret either, and that could leave an opportunity for Beckham. He does have that option in his contract to own an MLS franchise in future, and he's said publicly that he wants to stay involved with the league.

Regardless of the mixed feelings towards Beckham in MLS, my thinking is that he still could be a valuable asset as a franchise owner(and perhaps even an owner/player towards the end of his career in the Mario Lemieux mould). He'd provide a public profile boost for the Impact, as well as a substantial amount of financial backing, necessary for MLS entrance and stadium renovations. The other advantage is that Montreal wasn't in MLS during Beckham's initial stay in the league, so there might not be as much fan resentment towards him as has developed in say, Los Angeles. I can't say that for sure from the outside, though.

Montreal might be a great spot for Beckham, too; it's a very European city, for one thing, which might help him adjust. For another thing, the Impact are the third team in town at best at the moment, behind the Canadiens and the Alouettes. Beckham's involvement would certainly raise that profile, perhaps past the Alouettes, but even with him involved, the Canadiens will still be the big show in town. That might provide him with a good blend of celebrity and obscurity; he'll get plenty of attention, but he isn't as likely to get stalked daily.

In any case, there's nothing solid on this at the moment. It's just a rumour, and one that might take years to fully develop. It's certainly an intriguing idea, though, and one that could potentially benefit both sides.

[Cross-posted to The 24th Minute].

Update: Jason Davis has some good thoughts on the matter over at Match Fit USA.

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