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Is David Beckham Heading to the NASL’s New York Cosmos?

2012 November 26
by Brian Quarstad

David Beckham – photo by Brian Quarstad

According to a report in the Irish newspaper the Sunday World, a senior Cosmos source has confirmed that discussions are underway with David Beckham and his advisers to bring the multimillionaire soccer player in as part of the ownership group of the team with the possibility of someday playing for the team. The report said a decision is coming soon. That “senior official” told the Sunday World, “David has confirmed his interest and we expect an announcement before Christmas.”

Beckham has recently announced that after 6 seasons with the LA Galaxy he will leave the club after the 2012 MLS Cup, which will be played in Los Angeles at Home Depot Center next Sunday, December 2. Beckham has a clause in his contract that he can someday own a team in MLS after he retires.

“I’ve had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career,” said Beckham in a prepared statement which led many to speculate on what that “one last challenge” is? The BBC reported that Beckham’s agent had received offers from teams in Australia, Brazil, China, and several in Europe.

This is not the first time Beckham has been linked to the New York Cosmos 2.0. In 2010 the former Manchester United midfielder was said to be interested in the organization after the Cosmos name had been purchased by Paul Kemsley, who was an investment banker and once the director at Tottenham. Beckham’s personal agent Terry Byrne also bought into the resurrected Cosmos, but both he and Kemsley eventually sold the corporation after a great deal of marketing with no actual team to stand behind. The name was then sold to Seamus O’Brien and Saudi Arabia’s Sela Sports who announced in July that they would be actually fielding a team in 2013 that would play in the 2-year-old North American Soccer League.

The newest report says Beckham would secure a partnership with the team and become a player. “I don’t see this as the end of my relationship with Major League Soccer as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future,” said Beckham in his recent statement.

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber has been saying for well over a year that he sees New York as the location of the 20th team in his league and to that end had been working hard to secure a site for the team to build a stadium. While the Red Bulls are in New Jersey, Garber had been scoping out the 5 boroughs and had announced this fall that he has finally found a location in Queens at Flushing Medows that is said to be a hotbed of soccer in New York. However, not everyone believes that New York should be the site of the next MLS team, including Jérôme de Bontin, the new sporting director of the Red Bulls.

The Cosmos’ new ownership group could very well be setting themselves up to be a forerunner for the 20th MLS franchise as they would transition from the NASL into MLS just as four other teams had done previously, moving from Division 2 up to MLS. If that is the case, Beckham could be a partial owner and help the Cosmos find favor with Garber and company.

There is no doubt that Beckham has always been enamored with New York, even naming his eldest son, Brooklyn. As well, Beckham’s wife Victoria runs her line of clothing from the Big Apple and in recent days she was said to be looking at homes back in London, which would be a much closer flight to New York than Los Angeles.

A NASL Spokesperson declined to comment on the report.


24 Responses
  1. November 26, 2012

    I’m pretty sure Beck’s contract says he can’t be part of the ownership for a NY or LA team but that could always change.
    We’ll be asking Greg Lalas about Becks contract and the possibility of him going to the Cosmos tonight LIVE on Ultras Alive #76 at 9PM Eastern. You can call in to ask questions here: (323) 927-1455

  2. November 26, 2012

    Yes, I couldn’t find any specific’s but I am pretty sure that used to be true of his contract. Thanks Ed. Since I am no longer doing the NASL podcast I will try to listen in.

  3. Strikers Return permalink
    November 26, 2012

    Normally I’d dismiss a story like this in a nano-second as nothing more than a WSW fantasy. But if BQ felt strong enough to post it, and it’s not April 1st, then I suppose it warrants some discussion. Let’s clear one thing up right away – there is no way Beckham could be getting involved in the Cosmos unless he already knows nearly for certain that it will end up with him being a part owner of them as the 20th MLS franchise. That’s the only way it makes any sense at all.

    Even if he does have some clause in his contract naming NY specifically as a place he couldn’t use his franchise ticket, when it comes right down to it, especially given how much money there will be for the league adding it’s 20th team in NY, does anyone really think Garber or the BoG is going to look at Beckham and say, yeah, what you’ve done for the league, raising its profile and being a great mabssador and star for us these past years, that doesn’t matter to us, so no, you’re out of the deal. Not a chance. They’ll remove the clause, ignore it, whatever needs to be done. There would be nothing to gain for the league by enforcing it, and I’d wager there would be plenty to lose. It makes sense, if, and that’s a big if, if Beckham does want to be a part owner of a team in NY. Guess we can watch and see now. Even if it winds up being nothing more than a silly rumor, it’s still fun to speculate about. LOL

  4. rafijoepr permalink
    November 26, 2012

    If Becks is interested in having an ownership stake in MLSNYC2 he’s smart to insert himself in the early stages, in whatever capacity, as to ensure a successful NASL team/fanbase for the eventual transition to MLS.

    His first mission was to raise the profile of MLS, now for his second act, he will solely be responsible for elevating D2’s stature, resulting in eventual promotion and relegation between the two top leagues and his legend will endure for ages…


  5. jspech permalink
    November 26, 2012

    First off, New York does not have an MLS team. Hate the MLSNYC2 tag. Cannot see how this does not happened, probably proposed by the League. Way too much press, media profile for league to not make happened.

    Great for the Soccer side — if the Cosmos can’t bring a major star on the pitch, how about the sideline ( Future manager, or just run the soccer side of operations,( coach, players)

    For NASL Cosmos, a home run. For one thing , the Hofstra Stadium is in a place comparable to where MLS built early SSS. Awaaaay from the urban Center. They will not draw many from NYC, maybe Queens , but must draw primarily Long Island for this rebirth & Sandy did not help.

    With Beckham on board playing/ Owner then, it’s a game changer, both for the NASL & Cosmos.

    The media will follow. It will be nostalgic (Cosmos & Superstars)
    Only way to cut into the market. (See Brooklyn Nets on how to boot/reboot a franchise)- I live a mile from the Barclays Center.
    Perhaps the Cosmos have learn something.

  6. November 26, 2012

    @Rafi: You’ve been hanging out with me too long, Bro. They say that “crazy” is contagious… 😉

  7. rafijoepr permalink
    November 26, 2012

    @Yanki… it certainly is lol 😀

  8. speedcake permalink
    November 26, 2012

    So does his contract exclude NYC and L.A. completely? Or only at the deeply discounted franchise rate. So if he chooses NYC anyway, he’ll be paying the going rate for a franchise (he along with his fellow investors obviously) while anywhere else means he gets in for dirt cheap by comparison?

    Nick M. and I talked about this and I think Nick might be right about it, but for some reason absolutely no one in U.S. soccer seems to actually know whats up with Beck’s contract regarding the MLS ownership clause.

  9. rafijoepr permalink
    November 26, 2012

    Just now, from Twitter:

    “@GrantWahl: MLS commissioner Don Garber: Beckham’s option to own/invest in an MLS team includes any place but NYC area. “

  10. Fotbalist permalink
    November 26, 2012

    I think many of us had secretly hoped for something like this to happen, though everyone considered it tooooooo crazy to mention out loud. I’m glad BQ did because he wouldn’t do that unless there was some credibility to it. I think it’s a long shot, but I would LOVE for that to be the case. If Beckham joined any NASL team in any capacity, it would be a true paradigm shift to North American soccer.
    So for now, I sign on with rafijoepr and yankiboy. lol

  11. November 26, 2012

    Don’t give me so much credit. I was reporting what a number of other large media sources were reporting, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily believe that it’s so.

    Because of some other circumstances I was not able to listen to MLS Commissioner Don Garbers’ State-of-the-League press conference he held today otherwise I could tell you more accurately what was said beside the tweet from Grant Wahl posted by rafijoepr. I had contacted Dan Courtemanche earlier today. He is MLS Senior vice president, marketing and communications and he told me that MLS, as always has been the policy, does not reveal the terms of their player contracts.

  12. November 26, 2012

    Perhaps this would be Beckham’s way of getting around the supposed “No NYC” clause in his ownership deal and forcing the hand of MLS. As Strikers Return said, would MLS really say “No” to a NY Cosmos group that included Beckham? He could become part of the NASL Cosmos, play the (rather short) waiting game, and do some further good for the sport in North America in the meantime. I’m still filing this under the highly unlikely category, but it would shake things up for sure.

    Sidebar: @jspech, NYC has an MLS team. RBA is as close, if not closer, to Manhattan as the proposed Queens stadium would be. And we don’t have the Carson Galaxy, FC Frisco, Commerce City Rapids or Real Sandy. It’s not the Harrison Red Bulls. It’s the NY Red Bulls. Unfortunately NYC fans won’t have to deal with it since it seems inevitable that MLS will add a second team.

    Just because Garber wants to shoehorn another team into a market that doesn’t fully support the one it has, and that Beckham may or may not be interested in it, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or that NYC is entitled to multiple teams in every sport.

    Okay rant over.

  13. Dave permalink
    November 26, 2012

    Even if Beckham’s contract includes terms that allow a discount for an expansion fee (not applicable to NY and perhaps LA), Becks could still pursue ownership through traditional means. I’m sure he has some money to put behind a bid, and could probably line up other investors as well.

    He may decide a NY MLS team – through an NASL start-up, or by joining another bid group – is a better fit for his interests than an MLS expansion in a city like Orlando or St. Louis.

    I don’t expect Beckham to ever suit up for an NASL team, but there is more than one way to become an owner than to start a new MLS team at a discount. And I only quickly speculate that perhaps he could transfer his expansion option to another group (or trade with an existing MLS investor in an ownership swap). Lots of possibilities and little in the way of actual facts. Of course, this is the exact situation the internet was made for.

  14. Steve permalink
    November 26, 2012

    Dave is right. Beckham has an allotment for pursuing ownership. I.E. the league guarantees to foot the bill assuming his inquiry is outside of NY and LA (as I understand it).

    This means he can still pursue a franchise in New York without the league’s financial assistance.

    If NY Cosmos field beckham in NASL you can pretty much guarantee that they’ll be the franchise making the move to MLS. The only question is money, and while there’s far less traditionally available in the NASL, remember that the Cosmos are Saudi backed.

    Furthermore remember than the owner explained that the rational for NASL being a great place for the team was so that they could pursue players on their own without consulting the league (who in MLS as I understand it, holds all the cards). They’ve got the money, and with how aggressively they’re poaching NYRB right now, I think they aren’t too worried about fitting into our expectations.

    I don’t think this is the only possibility for Becks, but I do think it’s on the table.

  15. jspech permalink
    November 26, 2012

    F19 RBA is in New Jersey. The map said so. Unless facts really aren’t facts. RB will do best to embrace their Metrostar’s heritage. Why not t least go back to uni w/ Red Bull’s patch? NYC has no MLS team.

    For the first time since RB hs been around, someone called looking to peddle tickets. They call my phone, not rumor. Maybe they finally studied Marketing 101 over there.

    NYC has no MLS team!

  16. yawanascotch permalink
    November 26, 2012

    All it means gentleman is IF Beckham were to become owner/part-owner of a NYC team, the Discount would not apply. He would be investing at full price. Enough Said!

  17. Etch permalink
    November 27, 2012

    Will Becks name and money go to the Cosmos? If so, I predict some other names will follow mostly from accross the pond. Shades of the old Cosmos.

  18. Gene permalink
    November 27, 2012

    From today’s New York Daily News:

    However, a source told the Daily News Monday that while Beckham could not be on an MLS board, the Cosmos could get around that by appointing him as an executive.

    Read more:

  19. Strikers Return permalink
    November 27, 2012

    How big of a PR blunder would it be for the league to “get tough” with the only “face of the league” they’ve ever had in this situation? It’s not like he is one of the dozens of NFL players who gets arrested for DUI every month. He is winding down is playing days, and has very astutely I might add, positioned himself to stay invovled in the league at the ownership level at what certainly looks to be just the right time.

    If you’re Beckham, where do you want to be invovled in owning a team in the US? New York, or ANYWHERE ELSE? Never mind all that frivalous crap about it being a closer flight to London, and his wife’s goings on, and so forth. Businesswise, which is how you have to look at this because this is what he planned ahead for when he came to MLS and got that expansion ticket as a part of his deal, can anything rival the potential for him financially, of NYC? Adding the Cosmos brand on top is just icing on the cake.

    They will find some way to create a loophole or something. And if the league really does decide to overlook all he’s done for them and stop him from using his discuont ticket in NY, then he still has a ton of alternative options. I’m guessing he could probably sell it to someone looking to get into slot #21 or #22 a few years down the road. If he can’t sell the discount itself, he could always pair up with a group that wants to own a team and once the team is in, just sell off his interest in it for a tidy profit. Or, he could just slide it into his back pocket and see what the future holds. I assume there is no time limit on it. He can hold it hoping that MLS expansion franchise values continue to grow, and pull it out for one of these scenarios in the future when he’s ready to cash in.

    I’m still in the camp of skeptic on Beckham getting invovled with the Cosmos, but you can certainly see a lot of opportunities that could come it if he did.

  20. Fotbalist permalink
    November 27, 2012

    I still don’t believe this Beckham-Cosmos marraige will happen, but the simple fact that we are discussing it so passionately indicates that the King of Sports in the USA is light-years away from where it was a decade ago.

    Additionally, the new women’s league starting up where the three North American Federations all pitch in to make sure it happens with some longevity this time around….wow…..I don’t think any of us expected this a decade ago; or even 5 years ago for that matter. I’m loving this!

  21. Kathryn permalink
    November 27, 2012

    New York doesn’t have an mls team ? Um they sure do
    The new York red bull

  22. Footy76 permalink
    November 28, 2012

    New York doesn’t have an mls team ? Um they sure do
    The new York red bull

    UM no they really don’t,_New_Jersey

    I could sit here a write a whole paragraph about why the NJ Red Bulls are not doing good at this point and time but the simple fact is it all boils down bad planning form the word go far as stadium placement with that being said I will cut this short and put it all in perspective with these words Harrison, New Jersey?????

    On the subject of David Beckham I always heard rumor of him being connected with an MLS team in Miami? Is that true?

  23. Mike permalink
    November 29, 2012

    Is David Beckham heading to the NASL’s New York Cosmos?.

    Not according to him.

    But Beckham outright dismissed speculation linking him with the recently reformed New York Cosmos club which will play in the U.S. second tier next season.

    “I’ve been hearing the Cosmos thing for the last two or three years. It’s not true. My manager has definitely not had conversations with them, that’s definitely not true,” he said.

  24. Dave permalink
    November 30, 2012

    And this is why you don’t pay attention to tabloids in Ireland or any nonsense about the Cosmos. Hell, they might not even play the first half. I don’t trust they will even play the second half.

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