By Barry Janoff
September 11, 2013: Last month, Clint Dempsey, captain of the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team and regarded as one of the best American-born players ever to play the game, signed a four-year deal with the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer.
The deal received as much fanfare in the soccer world as when international icon David Beckham came to the U.S. in 2007 to play for the MLS Los Angeles Galaxy.
Now, Dempsey has taken another step on the Beckham highway, signing a multi-year deal with Electronic Arts to become a marketing spokesman for EA Sports' soccer franchise.
Terms of the pact were not disclosed. EA said that Dempsey would "become an important cornerstone of marketing and advertising campaigns in North America."
The alliance starts this week with the launch of a commercial for EA and GameStop to support EA Sports' FIFA 14, scheduled to hit retail on Sept. 24.
Dempsey's marketing roster, which also includes Nike, is expected to rise as the 2014 World Cup (June 12-July 13) approaches.
Beckham, who retired from active play earlier this year, earns about $42 million annually from endorsements such as adidas, H&M, Sainsbury and Samsung, according to industry analysts.
The spot sees Dempsey, famous for his post-goal "swagger" celebrations, teaching a guy playing as Dempsey on EA Sports' FIFA 14, "how to take his swagger to the next level." (See the full commercial here.)
“Having been a longtime fan of the EA Sports FIFA franchise, I am thrilled to join the FIFA team,” Dempsey said as part of the contract unveiling. “The FIFA games have played an important role in bringing many new fans to soccer in the United States and it’s awesome to partner with the team to continue the great work they’ve already been doing.”
Dempsey, who played the previous seven seasons with Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Premier League, has scored 35 goals for the U.S. National Team, second all-time behind Landon Donovan (57).
“Clint Dempsey is an incredible talent on the field who exudes a palpable excitement and passion for the sport,” Randy Chase, senior director-North America marketing for EA Sports, said in a statement. “His return to the United States marks a tremendous leap forward for soccer in the country and we are thrilled to partner with Clint on many projects that will continue to drive the exploding popularity of the sport in America.”
Marketers Spend It For Beckham
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