Beckham Arrives

ESPN certainly made a spectacle of Beckham's first game. They started with the MLS AllStar game against Celtic FC where they had Beckham as the half time guest and talked quite a bit about his arrival.

Then, on Saturday, they had the friendly game between the L.A. Galaxy and Chelsea. Beckham is just coming off of an ankle injury would not have played at all if it were not for the hype that was built up around the event. As it was, he just stepped on the field for about 10 minutes and was fairly obviously still hurting.

As a soccer fan, I'm excited to see Beckham and the attention that he brings to soccer. I'm not sure why it was neccessary to interview the Governator and Jennifer Love Hewett during the game though. It was certainly a smart move to have him play in L.A. Still, I'm curios to see how many celebrities show up for his 10th game in the league, let along is 30th.

Whether the excitement is permanent or not, this season the LA Galaxy are selling out games in just about every city they play in, while carrying one of the worst records in the league. If Beckham can make them successful (or just better), and if they can drive enough ticket sales, maybe the MLS will have enough money to sign more high profile players and continue to build attendance and revenue.

However, I find the excitement and spectacle of his arrival amusing. While this certainly isn't the same thing, I recall the attention that Freddy Adu brought to soccer when he started in the MLS (at the age of 14). At the time, I didn't really understand the fascination. While Freddy is a great player, the mass sports media seemed to make him the second coming. While Beckham is a much more established player, the level of expectation around him is absurd. While I hope it isn't the case, my guess is that the attention paid to Beckham will fade away just like Freddy's attention. Hopefully I'm wrong.