Ever wonder who the world’s most popular athlete is?
Names such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and LeBron James may come to mind, but none are as popular as England’s David Beckham.
Beckham, David Beckham.
Most of you probably have no clue who he is, but Beckham is the world’s most famous athlete.
Ironically enough, he’s a football player; but you won’t be seeing him in the NFL anytime soon.
That’s because he plays soccer, which is football for the rest of the world.
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, and it is fitting that the world’s most famous athlete be a soccer player, but Beckham’s skills aren’t what make him famous.
Beckham is a star in every sense of the word.
He lives the ultimate celebrity life.
While Eminem tried to figure out which Spice Girl he wanted to impregnate, Beckham already had it figured out, marrying Victoria Adams, a.k.a., Posh Spice. Keeping up with celebrity tradition of eccentric names for children, the couple named their first child Brooklyn.
Raising his two sons Brooklyn, 5, and Romeo, 2, is not cheap.
Fortunately, for Beckham, money is not a problem. With an estimated $28 million annual income and a net worth of $80 million, he ranks eight on Forbes’ list of the world’s best paid athletes.
Not only is Beckham rich, he’s also very marketable. In June 2003, the New York Yankees of soccer-the Spanish club Real Madrid – bought Beckham from the world’s richest sports franchise, Manchester United, for $41 million.
The funny thing is that they didn’t really need him. As a matter of fact, the team’s performance has declined since his signing. He was just needed to sell the club’s image.
The club’s income nearly doubled from $260 million in 2002, to an expected $515 million for the 2004-05 season.
Of that, 46 percent is due to come directly from marketing. Adidas and Pepsi have poured money into the club’s coffers just so they can use Beckham’s image to sell products, especially in Asia, where he is extremely popular.
In Asia, Beckham endorses everything from chocolate to cell phones.
Castrol Oil offered him an endorsement deal after they found out that 8 out of 10 Japanese would buy their products if Beckham endorsed them.
In China, where his popularity battles that of Yao Ming, anything, including his $723 limited edition cleats, with his face or name plastered on it sells out.
So what makes Beckham so popular?
Though he’s an excellent player, he’s not the best at the sport. Unlike Jordan, and Tiger,
Beckham’s popularity doesn’t stem from his actions on the field.
Beckham is a good soccer player, but he’s much better at being a star.
Despite his marital status, it doesn’t hurt that he’s very popular with the ladies. He is also considered a fashion icon. Sporting several famous fashions from Rocawear to Dolce & Gabbanna .
As the ultimate metrosexual, Beckham changes his hairstyle as often as his underwear.
His fans tend to imitate his radical hairstyles. During the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea, fans and opposing players alike imitated his Mohawk.
Those without sufficient hair used their imaginations to imitate the Mohawk elsewhere on their bodies.
So what have we learned today?
We’ve learned the David Beckham is the world’s most famous athlete. Sorry MJ, but we’ve also learned that he is not famous because of his skill and ability, but because he is young, and considered by many to be a rich, handsome, fashion icon.
His route to fame and fortune kind of reminds you of other famous celebrities who stumbled upon fame for reasons having little or nothing to do with talent.
Do Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie and Mr. Bentley ring a bell?
Darryl DieudonnÃ© is a sophomore public relations student from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.