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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 June, 2003, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Beckham's true worth
By Tom Fordyce

David Beckham frowns
Beckham is a massive asset on and off the pitch

Should Manchester United sell David Beckham? According to a new study, the move makes complete financial sense for the club.

Business analysts FutureBrand has examined the implications for the club of Beckham leaving Old Trafford for 30m this summer.

Their study shows that almost all of United's sources of revenue would be unaffected if Beckham was sold. Here's how it breaks down.


Stadium operations and related business

This stream - of which a substantial portion is match-day gate receipts - accounts for about 40% of the club's revenue. It is unlikely to drop if Beckham leaves United, as all the club's games are virtual sell-outs - and have continued to be so when other star names like Eric Cantona have left.


Media rights

These contribute about 36% of United's revenue. The Premier League brings in 35m, domestic cups 0.6m and the Champions League 10.4m.

The Premier League cash is unlikely to drop if Beckham left - because the deal is negotiated by the Premiership clubs en masse.

International media rights could suffer. Research shows that almost 30% of overseas Premiership fans follow a team because of particular star players - and Beckham is a major draw in Asia.

But because of the equal share of international TV rights between the Premier League teams, the total revenue for United is about 5% of the total international TV rights pot of 60m - i.e. 3m.

Unless the Premier League change how the international pot is divided amongst its members - so that United's greater overseas popularity is reflected in their slice of the pie - Beckham's loss won't hit United hard in this area.


Sponsorship deals

Vodafone pay 8m per year. This agreement is in place until the end of 2004, so there would be no immediate impact there.

David Beckham claps the Manchester United fans
Has Old Trafford seen the last of Beckham?
Given Vodafone's focus in Asia, the possible renewal of the deal could be hampered if United have no major draw for the fan base in that market. But the current indication is that Vodafone will either renew or be replaced by another company happy to pay a similar amount.

Nike pay 23m per year to be exclusive sponsor, official kit supplier, licensed merchandise provider and operator of global United retail opportunities.

This deal runs until 2015. There is an exit clause in 2008, but Nike are unlikely to take that up even if Beckham were to leave.

Of United's other major sponsors (Pepsi, Budweiser, Ladbrokes and Lycos), Pepsi may be hit by a Beckham move because of their heavy focus on Asia - but this would effect United by less than 0.1m per year.


Merchandising

Merchandising contributes 7% of United's revenue and is almost 100% UK-based. The UK side of things is considered to be immune to Beckham leaving.

United will fear an erosion of their Asian fan base - which could be as much as 25-30% if Beckham moves on - but this small loss of short-term revenue would be more than compensated for by a 30m transfer fee.


The effect on other parties

Both Real Madrid and Barcelona have weak fan bases in Asia, so Beckham's signature would be a major boost. He would also boost their fan base in other European markets.

If Beckham left England, the demand for international television rights to the Premiership could be affected - meaning the Premier League would prefer to see Beckham stay in his home country.

As for Beckham himself, the process can only be good news. Any transfer speculation boosts awareness of his brand and keeps him in the media spotlight - keeping him attractive to personal sponsors.




VOTE RESULTS
Would Barcelona be the right move for David Beckham?
Yes
 26.30% 
No
 73.70% 
69354 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


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