Nick Green, the LANG newspapers' soccer columnist, reports today on the closure of the David Beckham Academy, which for the last five years has offered soccer lessons to kids at AEG's Home Depot Center in Carson.
Seems the culprit is the weak economy, as fewer and fewer parents have $500 to spend on one week of soccer camp.
Green contrasts the hoopla that surrounded the opening of the camp in 2005 with the quiet way in which AEG informed the public of its closure. It was so quiet, in fact, that the camp closed back in December but the news is only getting out now. Green says that's not surprising...
... given the damage control/spinning AEG and 19 Entertainment representatives spent much of Friday engaged in as they tried to convince me this was not a story. When a Beckham rep calls you from home at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday London time, you know how sensitive his management team is to ANY suggestion of bad news.
So is this yet another verdict on the "Beckham Experiment"?
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Well, let's just say that the Kobe Bryant Youth Academy (five days, $575) seems to be weathering the recession just fine.
Meanwhile, at the Beckham Academy:
[A]ttendance never matched anticipated levels, especially as the economy worsened. And despite increased advertising, the camps were continually cut back.
For the most part, multiday camps were held only when school was not in session. By the time the academy closed, it was offering one solitary summer event, according to its Web site.
The London camp closed, too.