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Celebrity Licensing: David Beckham Joins New Team In Deal With Authentic Brands

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

The star athlete turned entrepreneur David Beckham has signed a strategic partnership with licensing juggernaut Authentic Brands Group.

ABG is now a co-owner of the Beckham brand, and will also manage the brand for licensing and overall business purposes. In return, Beckham has become a major shareholder in ABG.

The deal signifies the success Beckham has had in turning his fame on the football pitch into a globally recognized brand that has inked lucrative deals with major corporations around the world, including Adidas, Tudor, EA Sports, Maserati, Diageo and Sands. He is considered among the world’s most successful athlete-entrepreneurs, and ABG’s mission is to accelerate his influence.

“ABG takes an innovative approach to global brand development, and I’m delighted to be joining them,” said Beckham. “Our shared vision makes ABG the ideal strategic partner to help unlock the full potential of my brand and business. I’m incredibly grateful for the support I have received in my business career and proud of what our team has achieved. I’m excited for the next chapter.”

British football star David Beckham in a photo with his new ‘team mates’ at ABG; (from left) David Gardner, Managing Director, David Beckham Ventures; David Beckham; Nick Woodhouse, President and CMO, ABG; Corey Salter, COO at ABG.

ABG has worked with many other top sports and entertainment figures, so Beckham joins good company with stars like Shaquille O’Neal and Muhammed Ali, among many others.

ABG’s CEO Jamie Salter says Beckham and his management team will partner with ABG to grow the David Beckham brand through strategic endorsements, innovative business models, compelling digital and media partnerships and new consumer products.

“We are thrilled to welcome David Beckham to ABG’s esteemed entertainment division and even further honored to call him an ABG shareholder,” said Salter. “David is a superstar talent with an incredible global brand reach and a highly influential presence. David and his team have built an enterprise that spans sports, entertainment, lifestyle and luxury, and we see significant opportunities to scale his brand and expand it into new verticals.”

The partnership with David Beckham marks a definitive step in ABG’s global strategy to expand its corporate footprint, launch new business verticals and drive growth in key territories, including EMEA and APAC. As part of this next phase, ABG officially opens its European headquarters in London. The office will house the David Beckham team, who have been welcomed into the ABG family.

 ABG also becomes the largest shareholder in Studio 99, an integrated creative and production studio co-founded by Beckham in 2019. The company has a slate of documentary series in development and production for global platforms, including Netflix and Disney+, in addition to a commercial business generating content and creative marketing campaigns for a range of global brand clients.

Beckham’s digital presence is considered one of the most influential in the world, with a following of more than 138 million, bringing ABG’s total portfolio-wide social media following to more than 420 million. Beckham’s annual impressions surpass 9 billion across Instagram, Facebook and Chinese platforms Weibo and Douyin, which has the highest engagement of any international account. He is also the most followed and engaged individual on social media in the U.K.

With a professional football career spanning more than two decades, Beckham has played for some of the most successful clubs in the world. He was a member of Manchester United’s celebrated “Class of ‘92” and was the first English footballer to win league titles in four countries: with Manchester United in England, Real Madrid in Spain, LA Galaxy in the United States and Paris Saint-Germain in France. He is a former England Captain who played 115 times for his country including in three FIFA World Cups. In 2018, Beckham became co-owner of Major League Soccer franchise Inter Miami CF, the culmination of his lifelong ambition to build a new football club and create a lasting legacy in the game.

Beckham has been a UNICEF Global Goodwill Ambassador for almost two decades. In 2015, he launched the 7 Fund for UNICEF, which supports children around the world, with a focus on girls’ education, health and justice. He also supports the British fashion industry around the world, encouraging investment and supporting emerging talent as Ambassadorial President of the British Fashion Council. He is an Ambassador for Malaria No More and a Patron of the Elton John Aids Foundation.

“We have known David and his team for many years and are thrilled to join forces to break new ground,” said Nick Woodhouse, President and CMO of ABG. “Together, we will build on his remarkable brand and business platform to drive long-term growth and success.”

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