Major League Soccer is still in the red. Ever since it's inception the league has not made money. Things have been turning around a bit recently as cities build soccer specific stadiums which are more profitable to run. But it is estimated that the league will still be losing money for some time.
The big problem is though that people don't care. Specifically people in New York. For a professional sports league to be successful they need to put on a good showing in the biggest city in the United States. Unfortunately for the MLS the New York Red Bulls are drawing around 10,000 a game, the second lowest average attendance in the MLS.
Enter David Beckham. In his MLS debut starting match he drew more than 60,000 fans to watch the game in New York (Beckham plays for the L.A. Galaxy). Beckham sextupled the attendance to the game. But that's not all. During the game Beckham had three assists in a loss, where the Red Bulls pulled out a 5-4 win in the last minutes of the game.
In every sucessful sports league there is something that can be pointed to as the reason the league is doing so well. For example, the NFL's success can be traced to when Joe Namath guarenteed a win for his underdog team, the new York Jets, in Super Bowl III. It is very likley that this exciting game, played with the premiere new star, in front of a large crowd, is what will make the MLS start to turn a profit, and start to give professional soccer a real foundation in the United States. He might actually be worth his $250 million dollar contract.
Here are the highlights from the game: