The best scorer all times of Les Bleus joined the MLS. Thierry Henry signed a 4.5 year contract with the New York Red Bulls, and it will be a delight to watch him play and score. As opposed to David Beckham joining the LA Galaxy, Thierry Henry’s move was not marketing driven as he said: “I came to play Football”. Although he is not a marketing icon such as David Beckham, he does have a strong football business relevance.
Thierry Henry will not be an attraction like David Beckham was when he joined the MLS. Although his yearly financial compensation will amount to approx £2 million per season, the frenchman (with Antillian heritage) will benefit from various revenue sources such as spin-offs as shirts sales and merchandise*. This said, Thierry Henry’s NYRB shirt + number is the best seller since 2 days.
Thierry Henry’s move to the MLS is a fantastic appeal to the crowd and will with no doubt raise the broadcasters interest. “Thierry Henry will be used to attract the crowds and the TV money,” said Emmanuel Hembert, football business expert for management consultants AT Kearney.
The MLS is ongoingly positioning itself as a credible football league. Signing football stars is an crucial element to add in the bid for the 2018-2022 World Cup in the US.
Henry will not sell as many shirts as Beckham did when he joined LA Galaxy in 2007, but as an acclaimed football star, the quality of the MLS will increase, the fans will keep on joining massively to see a World Cup Champion and bottom line, help give credibility to the league and ultimately to the MLS brand.
Gillette, Pepsi and Reebok are TH’s main sponsors. I am looking forward to seeing some kick a** marketing stunts featuring the former Arsenal star. They have not let him down after the controversial handball against Ireland, and it will be interesting to watch how they will carry leveraging the partnership now Henry is in the US.
As usual, I am glad to hear/read your thoughts!
*New MLS guidelines allow clubs to have up to three designated players whose salaries are not included in the League’s £1.67m annual salary cap, so only a small portion of Henry’s wages will count against the club’s cap. The remainder will be paid by the owner Red Bull.