Monday, July 16, 2007

Galaxy to chase '$6 mln a game' Asian touring fee

David Beckham's new club, the LA Galaxy of US Major League Soccer, has lined up a friendly in Australia in late November but Tim Leiweke, chief executive and president of the Anschutz Entertainment Group which owns the club, has revealed other money-spinning games are being lined up for England and Asia next year. Referring to reports that Real Madrid are being offered US$6 million a game to play exhibition matches in Asia, Leiweke told reporters: "I think the greatest opportunity for the Galaxy is touring and doing international matches. I don't think it is $6 million dollars a game but I think it could be a pretty good percentage of that. And if you can do six games a year, that can add a significant amount of value to the team and its revenue ... We're still focused on training in Asia and doing games there next year at the beginning of the season."

Leiweke claimed that his emphasis on lucrative friendlies stemmed in part from the inability to expand the Home Depot Center beyond its current 27,000 capacity without entering into a complex and time-consuming planning process. "I've already stated that we'd like to be considered one of the top clubs in the world and that means there's that mystical US$100 million revenue stream that we want to try and get into that classification," he said. "I think that would designate us as one of the more significant and relevant clubs in the world. From a competitive standpoint, I think we're going to go through a bit of a learning curve. You can't expect that we're going to beat Chelsea or Chivas Guadalajara right off the bat. We're not quite at that level but we'd like to get to that level in the next four or five years. But I've always felt the biggest, most important thing that David can do above and beyond the exposure, the media coverage, the sponsorships, the dollars, the ticket sales.

"Can David ultimately prove to a lot of other players around the world that it's okay to come and play in this league, that the quality of play, our facilities and in particular, the fan support for soccer in this country is there. If that happens then David has left a legacy that is probably more in impact and standing than Pele did with the North American Soccer League. But I think we're going to have to work hard to get to the next level. The $100 million mark is not just thrown out there without understanding the consequences. As well as we're doing this year, we have to double our revenue, and that's going to be a challenge," he said as reported by Colin Stewart in The Scotsman.

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