David Beckham, one of the world’s most famous soccer players, is now making a run at Hollywood.
Beckham’s newly formed Studio 99 content studio will develop documentaries, TV shows and other formats, and also will undertake commercial work as a creative agency for brand partners. Studio 99 already has a slate of documentary projects in development — including some that will feature Beckham — with stories spanning sports, travel and fashion, among other areas.
The English footballer follows in the footsteps of other pro athletes who have established media ventures, including NBA superstars LeBron James and Stephen Curry, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson and former New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter.
Indeed, Studio 99 has inked a development agreement with Uninterrupted, the media company co-founded by LeBron James and business partner Maverick Carter. Under the partnership, the companies are co-producing a documentary series that will chart the journey — from conception to launch in spring 2020 — of Inter Miami CF, the Major League Soccer expansion team in which Beckham is a co-owner.
Beckham, after retiring from professional football in 2013 after a 20-year career, set up his own independent management company. Increasingly, more of the company’s projects with partners have involved producing content, “so creating our own studio felt like a natural next step,” he said in a statement.
“I have always enjoyed creating content of all kinds and working on set with creative people,” Beckham said. “It’s amazing to see what guys that I admire so much, like LeBron and Maverick, have achieved. It’s inspired me to see what’s possible in my world. It’s just very cool to be working with friends and meeting so many new people who are doing great things and want create exciting new projects with us.”
Maverick Carter, Uninterrupted’s CEO, commented, “David Beckham typifies the ‘More Than an Athlete’ mentality” — referring to an Uninterrupted series centered on James produced for ESPN Plus — “and we’re excited to be partnering with him and Studio 99 on this new development deal and documentary. As Uninterrupted continues to grow, working with partners in Europe and within football is a natural extension of our mission to empower all athletes.”
Beckham co-founded Studio 99 with long-term manager David Gardner, who is managing director of David Beckham Ventures, and Nicola Howson, who assumes the role of managing director of Studio 99. Howson joined Beckham’s company in the fall of 2018 as a strategic adviser, after spending the previous five years as an independent media consultant. She spent almost a decade as CEO of independent communications agency Freuds and prior to that was communications director at ITV.
Studio 99 also announced that it has selected WME for representation. The agency, along with Beckham and his business team, have held conversations with global streaming platforms and media partners about Studio 99’s initial development slate and potential co-productions.
The Studio 99 name is a nod to 1999 — a momentous year for Beckham during which he married Victoria Adams; the couple had their first child (son Brooklyn); and he won the treble with Manchester United, which took the titles in the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League.
Studio 99’s creative agency will create and execute campaigns across traditional, digital and social-media channels. It has already produced branded content including recent films shot in Tokyo, Paris, and L.A. for digital football platform Otro as well as content for Beckham’s Haig Club whisky (produced with Diageo) filmed in Paris, Colombia and South Africa. Studio 99 also is on tap to shoot a series of short films in London for resort partner Sands and is developing campaigns for brand partners AIA and Safilo.
The new company also will produce and manage all content creation for Beckham’s social-media channels, which include 57 million followers on Instagram and 52 million on Facebook.
Beckham has previously featured in a number of documentaries, each executive produced by Gardner. Those include “Class of 92,” retelling the story of the players who formed the core of Manchester United’s treble-winning team; “Into the Unknown,” a travel film for the BBC set in Brazil in which Beckham and three friends explore remote areas of the Amazon on motorbike; and the BBC’s “For the Love of the Game,” which saw Beckham play seven football matches on seven continents in nine days to raise awareness of issues facing children supported by his 7 Fund for Unicef.
“I have seen the impact that the documentaries I have worked on have had, and I find these are the types of shows I love more and more as a viewer,” Beckham said in a statement.
Studio 99 is based in London and co-located with David Beckham Ventures. A rep for the company said Studio 99 is likely to also open an office in L.A. in the medium term.