Beckham 'a commercial juggernaut' - Leiweke
Los Angeles Galaxy owner Tim Leiweke has brushed off critics who have labelled David Beckham's move to Major League Soccer 'a disaster' and insisted the England midfielder has been a huge commercial success.
Leiweke, president and chief executive of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Galaxy, also said he could envisage MLS and Premier League clubs playing each other in competitive games.
He told the FT Sports Summit in London: 'Some people in the US have said it has been a disaster but we don't see it that way.
'He's earned us more than we've paid him since he arrived. He's a commercial juggernaut.
'He's been great off the pitch as well as on the pitch. It's a book not a chapter. Round the world, he's more renowned than Tiger Woods.
'If Real Madrid could do it over again they would have kept David.'
Leiweke added that Beckham's arrival had led to Galaxy to look to the future.
He added: 'We finally have an opportunity to be successful, what we were missing is a star player because stars are everything in the US.
'The greatest gift David Beckham has given our league is the fact that we can sit here and think that in a few years we'll be able to match the lower-level Premier League clubs.
'We've got a long way to go to beat Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal - they are icons and we know that - but there will be a time where our teams can hold their own over here and that will be the time when we have succeeded as a league.'
Leiweke said he could not see English clubs playing Premier League matches in the USA in the same way that the NFL have come to London because 'their fans would kill them'.
He added: 'It's not a matter of travelling, it's a question of not giving up their home game. But I do envisage a day when Premier League teams and MLS teams are going to be involved in a competitive format that is real.'