Will Beckham be remembered for his football talent or his celebrity status?
With David Beckham hanging up his boots and retiring from football, we’re revisiting his sporting career and legacy. The article ‘When Becks came to Sydney: multiple readings of a sport celebrity’ (Soccer & Society, vol. 11, issue 3) analyses the social and cultural effects of a 2007 Beckham visit to Australia , revealing how his carefully orchestrated, almost Hollywood-like appearances tapped into a multitude of burning issues relevant to Australian sporting culture and Australian identity in general.
The article supports the on-going debate about his fame by questioning whether it originates in support from true football fans or in his global celebrity status: Beckham’s commercial marketing activities attract “a largely female, teenage audience with little real interest in, and knowledge of, soccer” (p. 230). Media representations of him are as varied as his range of professional activities, foregrounding different aspects of the man, the superstar and the sportsman depending on the targeted readership. Conversely, his appearances are tailored to suit the context in which they occur.
Whatever the ‘truth’ about the man Beckham, his visit shows the importance and impact of sporting representatives taking the time to visit foreign countries. With David Beckham exuding both sportsmanship and showmanship at once, he is a human blueprint for any sport looking to self-promote and wondering about the way forward.
Read the article for free! http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14660971003619495
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