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How Messi’s Move to Miami International Helped David Beckham’s Football Venture Blast Off But Also Exposed Underlying Issues

On June 8, Argentine star Messi officially announced the next stop of his career in an exclusive interview with “Daily Sports” and “World Sports Daily”: he will reject the Saudi team Riyadh Crescent and the old team. His club Barcelona joined the American team Miami International. Subsequently, Miami International also confirmed the news through official social media that Messi will wear the No. 10 jersey for the new season of the Major League Soccer.

According to previous reports, in order to match the highest offer in the history of professional sports offered by Leiyad Crescent (approximately 1 billion euros in two years), Miami International has prepared a compound business gift package for Messi, including The maximum salary allowed under the “cap” rule is 50 million euros in annual salary, club shares, sponsorship from Apple and Adidas. Among them, Apple and Adidas provide Messi with more than simple “endorsement sponsorship”. According to the report of the well-known sports media The Athletic, after signing with Miami International, Messi will share from Adidas’ “increased profits due to joining”. Messi will also get a share of the profits generated by users subscribing to Apple TV after joining the MLS.

It can be said that while Messi gave up the largest contract in the history of professional sports, he turned around and created a contract with the most commercial value in the history of professional sports.

However, in this transaction, the biggest winner may not be Messi, but the owner of Miami International, David Beckham. According to the predictions of many media outlets, after signing Messi, the overall market value of Miami International will grow rapidly from the current US$585 million to more than 1 billion in the next natural year. Considering Beckham’s start-up cost of US$25 million five years ago, this means that Beckham has quietly completed a 40-fold return on this investment.

0 1 billion dollar club

Although Inter Miami has only been established for 5 years so far, its story actually began in 2007.

In 2007, Beckham, who had just led England to the World Cup in Germany and was in his prime, made a decision that puzzled countless fans: he would no longer renew his contract with Real Madrid, nor would he choose to continue playing in the top five European clubs. After playing in the league, he joined the American League team Los Angeles Galaxy after the season.

If you don’t know football, you can probably feel the “shock” through this analogy: this is equivalent to a big guy with Ali’s P10 or above, facing potential “optimization” risks, pushing away Ali’s internal Transfer indicators, and turned down offers from Xiaomi, Meituan, and Didi, and chose to return to his hometown in Chengdu to serve as the technical leader of a start-up company located in Tianfu Third Street…

In the eyes of the fans at the time, even if this was not “bad”, it was also a crazy test on the verge of “laying flat”. Although the American Football League has also attracted Pele, Beckenbauer, Cruyff and other epic stars in football history to join, but that basically happened at the end of the star’s career. The overall level of competition is hard to describe. In terms of commercial value, the taillights of the four traditional North American sports leagues cannot be seen at all. The overall situation in 2007, including the joining of Beckham, still has not changed significantly:

In 2007, Soccer United Marketing, which acted as an agent for MLS broadcast rights and peripheral business development, created less than US$1 million in dividends for each team after the season ended. The 13 teams in the league have a negative EBITDA of 20 million US dollars. If only the three teams with the best financial status, Los Angeles Galaxy, Toronto FC, and Dallas FC, add up to only It’s $6.7 million. The poor fundamentals brought a weird “workplace atmosphere”. A data survey showed that the turnover rate of players in the Major Leagues at that time was as high as 30%. , will choose to join other leagues, retire or leave professional football to switch to other sports.

So at that time, a considerable number of fans believed that Beckham’s choice of “high position clearance” must be far more than just to earn “pensions”. And this point of view was quickly confirmed by many parties.

According to the details of the contract that were gradually disclosed later, the total value of the contract signed by Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy was 128 million, including basic salary, sponsorship contract, jersey sales profit share, club revenue share and a personal interest: Beckham If Mu can fully fulfill the five-year contract, then he will be allowed to buy the MLS franchise for $25 million after retirement.

The franchise right here can be understood as the “entry threshold” or “franchise fee” of MLS. The year before Beckham joined the LA Galaxy, Toronto FC was allowed to join the MLS for $10 million. When the Seattle Sounders joined the MLS in 2009, the price rose to $40 million. By the time the San Diego Wave team applied to join this year, it was said that they had signed a cooperation with the MLS officials of up to 500 million US dollars, including stadium expansion, infrastructure renovation and franchise rights.

In other words, Beckham is more like joining the MLS as a “partner”, and has obtained a fairly cost-effective allocation price by means of “technical investment”.

0 2 American partner

If you have the opportunity to pick up the bargain, you must also have the ability to pick up the bargain. After Beckham publicly acknowledged the existence of “privilege” in 2009, a new version of “Beckham’s investment plan” was exposed almost every few weeks.

For example, consortiums from Qatar and Abu Dhabi have expressed interest. They hope to expand their own influence through investment in Beckham and MLS. LeBron James admitted that he and Beckham discussed the cooperation plan. Before that, he became a minority shareholder of the Premier League giants Liverpool by investing in the Fenway Sports Group of the United States. It is said that Don Garber, the president of the MLS at the time, tried to push Beckham to consider investors from New York, because he believed that only the “New York Red Bulls” were not enough to fully realize the consumption potential of this metropolis.

Finally, in November 2012, the whole thing finally took shape.

In November 2012, Don Garber expressed to the media that he hoped that the “big league” could return to Miami-Miami used to have a team called “Miami Fusion”, but in 2001 due to low attendance and other reasons Withdrew from the league and suffered a failed “reboot” in 2009, when Bolivian businessman Marcelo Claure and the Spanish giants tried to bid for the MLS “franchise” after buying the club, but failed. In the end, they lost to the Seattle Sounders mentioned above-Don Garber felt that Miami, as the largest American city with the largest number of Latinos, ushered in a “gold medal football market” rather than a “football desert”.

In April 2013, Beckham announced his retirement, and the media simultaneously reported the news that his management company XIX Entertainment had started initial contact with the MLS. At the end of 2013, Don Garber officially confirmed the existence of the negotiation, and the Miami-Dade County Council also voted to pass a resolution, awarding Mayor Carlos A. Negotiations on the construction of a new stadium”. On February 5, 2014, the MLS officially announced that Beckham would exercise his franchise rights and provide funds for the construction of the stadium.

It seems that everything is going well, but there is an unavoidable bug in the cultural and sports industry track: the threshold for understanding is too low, and the fields involved are too wide. Community public welfare, regional culture, youth education, municipal construction, taxation, transportation, employment, these public topics that often make MPs take pictures of tables in parliament for several months, can almost be easily included in the landing process of a large-scale cultural and sports project What’s more, it’s a celebrity like Xiaobei who comes with attention. So much so that Beckham shook his head when recalling these days: “This is hell.”

In 2014, Beckham hoped to borrow a court in the Miami Waterfront Museum as a temporary venue to successfully complete the team registration, but encountered collective opposition from local residents, and the plan eventually fell through.

In December 2015, Beckham was going to acquire a 9-acre piece of land near the Overtown neighborhood west of downtown Miami to build a stadium, but the local residents led by Bruce Matheson filed a legal arbitration. They believed that the city leaders adopted a closed The bidding process involves compliance issues.

In April 2017, Burleigh (remember this name), the owner of the well-known American baseball team Los Angeles Dodgers, became the majority shareholder of the team, but it soon ushered in controversy. Everyone from the MLS executives to the fans hoped that the new club could be managed by Locals lead instead of being speculative leverage for plutocrats…

Under heavy pressure, Beckham decided to solve the problem by attracting venture capital.

In December 2017, the Cuban-American billionaire Hoomas brothers (Jorge Mas and Jesse Mas) took over Burleigh’s equity and became the new major shareholder of the team. The team’s old shareholder Marcelo Crowley also relied on the friendship that Softbank bought 57% of the company Brightstar he founded at a price of US$1.26 billion that year, which brought in Sun Zhengyi. So far, Beckham’s new team has finally obtained enough guarantees in terms of financial certainty, international influence and multi-industry cooperation-this is even the MLS itself. During the interview, he said excitedly: “(Sun Zhengyi) brought us the last piece of the puzzle.”

The “money ability” is indeed immediate. In January 2018, the MLS officially announced the completion of the Miami International team and will officially start participating in MLS games in 2020. In May 2019, Beckham and his wife Victoria bought 33% of the shares held by their old friend Simon Fuller for about US$50 million, and wholly owned XIX Entertainment, which had been holding shares for him before. . In September 2021, the Maas brothers and Beckham once again jointly acquired the shares held by Crowley and Sun Zhengyi. We are incredibly proud of the progress we have made and we are delighted to have Marcelo and Masayoshi Son on board for the first stage of our journey.”

It is said that Messi’s contract also contains the same “franchise license” clause. If it is confirmed, there is a high probability that in Beckham’s view, his “Miami startup” has been a staged success.

0 3 “I don’t understand football culture”

But a more realistic problem is that, just like football has the same status in the minds of the American people, football and American capital seem to be at odds with each other and conflict everywhere.

The Glazer family has encountered continuous verbal and physical protests from local fans because of the leveraged acquisition of the Premier League giants Manchester United, which has burdened it with heavy debts and caused it to gradually lag behind other European giants in club construction in recent years. Including but not limited to the production of scarves, flags, rallies and protests against the Glazer family, and the burning of executive residences, etc., “forced” the Glazer family to move the mind of “just accept it as soon as it is good”, and announced in November last year that Manchester United launched a “strategic The selection process seeks to introduce new investment, sale or other transaction options for the club.

However, as the richest man in the UK, Ratcliffe, and Jassim, a member of the Qatari royal family, successively offered multiple rounds of quotations that sank directly to the bottom without any public response, doubts rose again, from fans to team celebrities Once again set off an “anti-Glazer” climax, calling “liar” and “hype”.

Burleigh enjoyed the dividends of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In May 2022, he bought it for 2.5 billion pounds, buying all the shares of the Premier League giants Chelsea held by the Russian rich man Abramovich. However, Chelsea’s record plummeted after Burleigh took over. While investing a record transfer fee of 600 million pounds in a single season, they created the lowest ranking in the team’s Premier League history and directly lost one of the most important players in the European football industry. Commercial channels – intercontinental competitions such as the Champions League and the Europa League.

For the purpose of controlling the budget, the Red Bird Group fired Maldini, the team’s hero who requested additional transfer investment, and announced that it would use big data and other means to replace Maldini’s functions as the team’s technical director. However, this move directly attracted strong dissatisfaction from AC Milan fans. A large number of protesting fans gathered near the club headquarters and training base. The official social media comment area was contributed by dissatisfied fans. Almost the entire Italian football world criticized the Red Bird for “not Understand football culture”.

In addition, the Kroenke family, the owner of Arsenal, the Fenway Sports Group, the owner of Liverpool, and the Friedkin consortium, which owns Rome, have all been boycotted by local fans to varying degrees.

In fact, including Miami International itself, after the official competition, there were many troubles.

For example, in June 2021, the MLS issued a heavy fine to Miami International. They allege that Inter Miami registered five “unlimited salary cap” players (i.e. “designated players”) for the 2020 season, two more than the stipulated number, while also allegedly hiding three other players on their financial statements salary budget, suspected of financial fraud. Based on this, Miami International Club was fined $2 million, team executive Jorge Maas was fined $250,000, and team chief operating officer and sports director Paul McDonough was banned from participating in the 2022 season. And deduct the dividends of more than 2.27 million US dollars in the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

This is obviously no coincidence. A common view is that the American concept of Properties thinking in the sports industry (that is, sports assets) conflicts with the popular nature of modern football. Properties emphasizes that leagues, teams and athletes can sell their media rights, endorsement rights and licensed product rights to the media, sponsors, sports licensed product companies, etc., and then infiltrate the pursuit of commercialization into every link of club construction—— Everything can be sold, and everything must be evaluated by ROI-but modern football is an extension of campus sports, a scene of community activities and trade union activities. There are obviously irreconcilable contradictions among them.

Some people also think that this is a side effect of capital globalization. For example, Wang Qinbo, a reporter from the Sports Weekly, believes that “when top-level football is transformed into an absolute visual product by TV and the Internet, city attributes and club inheritance are not important anymore. What investors need is not the team spirit, but the managers who absolutely obey their own orders.” People, even if they obey their own orders to manipulate all kinds of tossing.”

In short, no matter which point of view is correct, the dilemma between football and American capital is obviously not easily solved by Messi’s signing or a franchise granted to Messi.

Including Michael Ginnitti, an American journalist who predicted that the market value of Miami International will exceed 1 billion US dollars. His arguments actually did not escape the shackles of Properties. The main basis is still that the sharing agreement reached by Apple, Adidas and Messi means that Miami International is innovating its business. way, and tickets to Miami International games have gone up fivefold.

Or he wouldn’t selectively ignore the only reply under that tweet: “If Messi retires in a year, will the market value fall back to 600 million?”

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