The 'David Beckham' Brand

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG077
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1992-2003
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Real Madrid, Manchester United
Industry : Media & Entertainment
Countries : UK

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"He's a sponsor's dream: a fashion icon, associated with success, a family man. Because of Beckham, football is no longer just about football, but about character and personality."

- Michael Sterling, a sports analyst at Field Fisher Waterhouse, London in 20031

"Right now he is one of the most important players in the world in terms of marketing... Beckham is an icon,"

- Emilio Butragueno, an official at Real Madrid, in 20032

"The brand is exceptional and the potential is enormous. No other sportsman or woman has the brand placing or personality of Beckham,"

- John Williamson, director, Wolff Olins, a Brand Consultancy, in 20023

Spanish Sojourn

In June 2003, one of the biggest deals ever in world football was signed between Manchester United; a Premier League football club4 based in Manchester, England (for which David Beckham (Beckham) had been playing since he was a teenager) and Real Madrid, one of the biggest clubs in Spain.

The deal, which cost the Spanish club 25 million ($ 41.31 million)5, caused one of the biggest sensations ever in the field of soccer. Fans of Beckham as well as the concerned clubs went into a furor over what the outcome of such a transfer would be. Analysts said that the drama and excitement surrounding this transfer was no less than that surrounding a corporate takeover.

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They were also interested to know what the outcomes of one of the most significant transfers in the world of sport would be.

The sensation created was hardly surprising as Beckham was one of the biggest brands in sport, rating only behind all time legend Michael Jordan (basketball) and Tiger Woods (golf).

Celebrity endorsements were an important part of marketing in the early 2000s. While television and movie stars were usually the first choice, most companies also sought out sports stars to promote their products. (Refer Exhibit-I for note on celebrity endorsements).

Beckham was one of the most sought after celebrity endorsers, not just for his skill at football, but also for his good looks, charisma and the pop star lifestyle he led.

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1] Ginanne Brownell ,“Brand it Like Beckham”, Newsweek International 2003,

2] Philippa Moreton, “Beckham's sponsors and image increase his value to Real”,, June 18, 2003

3] Richard Fletcher, “Beckham launches kit designs for M&S”, The Telegraph, September 15, 2002.

4] The Premier League was the flagship of the Football Association in England and consisted of 20 of the finest football clubs in the country. The Premiership was launched in 1992, with the objective of improving the standards of football in England.

5] 1=$ 1.64 (approximately, in September 2003)

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