Yahoo signs Beckham as brand ambassador

DETROIT Tue Jun 8, 2010 5:13pm EDT

David Beckham trains with the England squad during a World Cup soccer training session at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus near Rustenburg, June 4, 2010. REUTERS/Darren Staples

David Beckham trains with the England squad during a World Cup soccer training session at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus near Rustenburg, June 4, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

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DETROIT (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc said it signed British soccer star David Beckham as a brand ambassador ahead of the World Cup tournament in a move to draw more users to the online media company's products.

Under the deal announced on Tuesday, Beckham will be featured on Yahoo websites and products exclusively before and after the World Cup, which begins in South Africa on Friday, as well as in company marketing.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed

The deal runs through the end of September to take advantage of the start of 2010-2011 European soccer seasons, and the first print and outdoor ads featuring the English soccer star will appear in Britain later this week, said Andrew Cocker, head of Yahoo marketing in Britain.

"Yahoo will allow me to interact one on one with as many football fans as possible talking about the game I love," Beckham said in a statement.

However, due to commitments with the English soccer team, Beckham will not comment on the 2010 World Cup during the tournament, Cocker said.

"It's not just a World Cup deal for us," he said in a telephone interview. "This is a partnership with David going through into the course of next season."

The Beckham deal is another step in Yahoo's push to boost its sports offerings.

In April, Yahoo acquired the exclusive rights for online video highlights in Britain for English Premier League soccer from 2010 through 2013, and it also has similar deals with the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball in the United States.

As part of the deal, Beckham, who is not playing in the World Cup due to a ruptured Achilles tendon, will be featured in a multimillion-dollar global marketing campaign in select markets throughout and beyond the World Cup. Beckham played in the previous three World Cups.

The campaign, which focuses on highlighting specific products, services and experiences on Yahoo, is meant to drive more people to search, use and talk about Yahoo, the company said.

Fans will have access to exclusive content from Beckham in addition to Yahoo's existing microsites, mobile experiences, fantasy games and search tools for more than 20 countries.

Three main components to the deal include a David Beckham page within Yahoo Sport's coverage of the World Cup, where Beckham will share his thoughts on playing in three consecutive tournaments; the opportunity for soccer fans to ask Beckham questions through various Yahoo channels; and Beckham's participation in the marketing campaign.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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