Monday, August 27, 2007

A Separate Set of Responsibilities for Game-Savers? (or, is David Beckham obligated to attend road games when he does not play?)

Imagine for a moment that Kobe Bryant is seriously injured and unable to play, and that the Lakers are about to go on a road trip. A pretty good argument could be made that Kobe should stay at home and let the people at El Segundo treat him, work him, or do whatever to get him better. Taking him on the road when he wouldn't be playing would be pointless and a waste of time.

However, Kobe's appearance or non-appearance in any particular NBA city would not have a league-altering effect on attenadance.

Not so with MSL and David Beckham. This is what Brad Barnett said:

For the MLS to be successful and show the fans their appreciation, the LA Galaxy must travel with David Beckham. He does not have to play in the games, but he MUST SHOW UP!

Since the announcement that Beckham was joining the LA Galaxy and the MLS, stadiums across America have been selling out to see the “Ambassador of the MLS”. This role was one that Beckham accepted whole heartedly and takes very serious, so why is Frank Yallop keeping him at home when they travel to Colorado?...

The MLS and Beckham had a small window to attract the American public to the league and the game of soccer, however that window is closing fast. It will not be nearly as tough of a ticket to get next year to see Beckham, so if the MLS wants to make its stamp in the crowed sports market of the US then Beckham must show up to games. Period.

However, there may be another angle with which to look at this. What's best for the Los Angeles Galaxy (who is, after all, Beckham's employer)? Is it good for the L.A. Galaxy if Beckham goes to Colorado? Probably not.

(Of course, this opens up the whole can of worms about whether Beckham should be jetting to England to play in national friendlies. However, the whole club vs. country tension is not unique to Beckham, and is something that many soccer clubs have to face as a matter of routine.)

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