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On the day it was revealed that soccer superstar David Beckham is in line to star in Disney Plus series “Save Our Squad,” the former mid-fielder turned team owner gave his first in-depth television industry keynote at this year’s MipTV on Tuesday.
Nine-time Primetime Emmy-winning director and producer Ben Winston (“Carpool Karaoke,” “Friends Reunion Special”), hosted the keynote remotely from L.A. with Beckham participating from his Inter Miami stadium in Florida.
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After an extensive chat about life during and after soccer, Beckham discussed launching his own production company Studio 99 and his goals for the company, many of which he’s been ruminating on since his playing days.
“I retired at 38, and probably five years before that, I started setting the business up, knowing that at some point I would have to retire,” Beckham explained. “I planned different elements of the business and surround myself with a good team. Throughout my career I was successful, not because of me personally, but because of the teams I was with. I knew setting up the team in London was so important.”
After a brief recounting of Beckham’s favorite career moments — soccer super-fan Winston couldn’t help but geek out chatting with the English soccer legend — the conversation moved on to Studio 99’s first big production, an in-development documentary titled “Inside Inter Miami.”
The project will recount the history of the upstart MLS club that Beckham founded and which has quickly become an international phenomenon, attracting some of the world’s biggest players and former England women’s national team manager Phil Neville.
“It’s been an incredible journey,” Beckham said of his long and well-documented struggle to create and build up his MLS franchise. “I retired from playing on a Saturday in Paris and on Sunday I flew to Miami to announce this is where I was establishing the team. That was a big moment and I feel we’ve documented the whole process over the years.”
Beckham acknowledged his love for sports documentaries, citing titles including Netflix’s “The Last Dance” or “Sunderland ‘Til I Die” and Amazon’s “All or Nothing” franchise, explaining that those series inspired how he wants to tell the story of his own club.
“[Those series] inspired me and I got so many ideas from them. Making the documentary is our first big thing with the studio, and I’m really excited about it. We have a real opportunity to make content that is going to be incredible and tell the story of the way it was,” he explained.
Next up, Winston asked Beckham to speak about his newly announced Studio 99/Disney Plus series, “Save Our Squad,” in which the former player return to the East London fields where he played as a child to mentor a group of kids playing for a struggling Sunday League side.
“I played grassroots football and I was on a Sunday League team at 7 years old,” he recalled. “This show is about giving back and giving these young kids the opportunity to work with me and to listen to my experiences from when I was their age.”
Moving on, talk returned to Beckham’s English Premiere League career and how it will influence another ambitious Studio 99 project, “A Whole New Ball Game” which proposes a comprehensive look at the first decade of the current iteration of England’s top soccer league.
“This is about the first decade of the Premiership, when it first became box office entertainment and the game started to change,” Beckham explained. “I think it was the moment where football really became entertainment, stepped into entertainment culture and when the sport became truly global.”
Going even further back in history for the next project, Beckham was asked to talk briefly about another documentary project at Studio 99 about the history of two of the globe’s most popular footwear brands, Adidas and Puma.
In “World War Shoe,” “We are telling the story of two brothers that had an argument and decided to split and set their own companies which became Adidas and Puma. It’s an amazing story, and one that hasn’t been told yet,” he explained enthusiastically.
Finally, when asked if there were any plans to document his own story in a biopic or series, Beckham excitedly explained that the gears are turning.
“That’s something I only want to do once, and I think now is the right because it’s such an exciting time in my career after being a player,” he said, adding that “There is a real momentum in this industry [sports documentaries], and I felt like now is the right time to tell my story.”
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