David Beckham is believed to become the first active footballer to have a stakeholding in his club as the exact details of his new playing contract for LA Galaxy begin to come to light.
The reported contract clause, which will see him take a share of the club profits which could amount to as much as $10m a year, will catapult Beckham up the global list of highest earning sport stars – a list dominated by athletes from US sports.
When he moves from Real Madrid to LA Galaxy at the end of the season, Beckham looks set to earn a total of $55m a year in total.
This figure comprises of an annual salary of $10m; existing sponsorship contracts with his four sponsors - Motorola, Pepsi, Gillette and Volkswagen - worth approximately $25m; his cut from merchandising shirt sales expected to generate around $10m; as well as the $10m derived from his reported shareholding in the club.
Beckham’s agent, Simon Fuller of 19 Entertainment who holds rights to the Beckham brand, has claimed that the contract is the biggest sporting deal ever.
This may be true in terms of a single commercial contract but whether the move to the US will see Beckham overtake golfer Tiger Woods as the highest earning sports star in the world on overall annual earnings is a matter still up for debate.
For more on the pros and cons of this argument, which has caused heated debate in the Sport Industry Group office, read this week’s Sport Industry Group column.