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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 June 2007, 21:19 GMT 22:19 UK
Beckham exit 'will not hurt Real'
By John Sinnott

David Beckham
Beckham has been with Real for four years
David Beckham's exit will not adversely affect Real Madrid finances, according to an ex-deputy chairman of advertising giants Saatchi and Saatchi.

Much has been made of the midfielder's marketability, both to former club Manchester United and Real, but Alex Fynn says his value can be overstated.

"If Real win La Liga and Beckham goes, there won't even be a blip that will be felt," Fynn told BBC Sport.

"To have an optimum business you need a successful team and Real haven't been."

Beckham, who will now join Major League Soccer club LA Galaxy in the United States after four years in Spain, helped give Real a marketing presence in the Far East but until this season the club have underperformed on the pitch.

Real's Primera Liga success on Sunday was the first time Real have won the league title since 2003 - just before Beckham joined the Spanish club.

There is no-one in football who transcends all markets in the way Tiger Woods does

Ex-Saatchi and Saatchi deputy chairman Alex Fynn

Fynn's view is supported by Barcelona vice-president Ferran Soriano, the club that Beckham snubbed in favour of joining Real Madrid in 2003.

"The addition of good and notorious players such as David Beckham is supposed to improve the Spanish League," said Soriano.

"But actually there are no numbers that support this - it is hard to say."

After Beckham chose Real, Barcelona bought the Brazilian Ronaldinho, who guided the Catalan club to two Primera Liga titles and the Champions League crown in 2006.

As Barcelona won those titles, Madrid were hit by internal boardroom politics.

"Barca have no regrets over Beckham," added Soriano, referring to the 32-year-old's decision to join Real.

"I think he would have done well at Barca but we bought Ronaldinho instead, who has added a lot of value - in all senses - to our club."

Business magazine Forbes ranks Real as second to Manchester United in being the most valuable team in the world.

United are priced at 740m, ahead of Real (528m), with Arsenal (466m) in third.

However, accountants Deloitte and Touche rate Real as the world's wealthiest club in terms of sales as its revenues rose to 202m from 186.2m.

Deloitte's figures take into account income from ticket sales, merchandising and broadcasting contracts but do not include transfer revenues and does not calculate profitability.

The key to Real's wealth has been the money the club has accrued from lucrative domestic television deals.

"Real, Barca and Italian giants like AC Milan have achieved a level of revenue from TV deals that English clubs will only realise next season," said Fynn.

"That's because those overseas clubs have been are able to negotiate those domestic rights themselves and not collectively as the Premier League clubs do."

David Beckham
Beckham will next be seen with a ball in the US

According to another Forbes survey of the world's most powerful celebrities, Beckham is the highest-earning footballer with earnings of 20m.

But his earnings are a long way behind golfer Tiger Woods, who raked in 60m last year.

While not disputing Beckham is a very good "marketing property", Fynn argues his appeal remains relatively limited.

"Because of the type of person he is, Beckham will appeal best to a certain audience - mainly young and impressionable people," stated Fynn, who has advised clubs and federations on media marketing.

"If Real were looking to improve their appeal to a more affluent and older market, whose spending power would be dictated by a more refined choice, you wouldn't necessarily turn to Beckham first.

"There is no-one in football who transcends all markets in the way Woods does and Michael Jordan used to in basketball.

"Beckham is not as influential a sporting ambassador as those two American superstars.

"They transcend class and boundaries in the way Beckham does not.

"Partly because of the sport he plays - football isn't popular in the United States - partly because he isn't particularly articulate."

Fynn says Arsenal forward Thierry Henry offers an interesting contrast to Beckham.

"Henry defines himself first and foremost as a footballer and in that capacity the Frenchman is far superior to Beckham.

"If Henry used his renown as a footballer to promote products he would be able to promote them over a wider field than Beckham.

"But he still chooses to prioritise his sport. Arguably, he is as fluent in English as Beckham is - and that is Henry's second language."

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