Even when the subject is something as mundane as his playing status, David Beckham can almost always be found somewhere at or near the centre of the media circus.
The travelling road show arrives in Canada this weekend, with the English soccer icon's much-ballyhooed MLS debut set for Sunday night at BMO Field in Toronto. But a wonky ankle has many wondering whether Beckham will suit up at all for the Los Angeles Galaxy's 7:30 p.m. ET match vs. Toronto FC (it's still being labelled a game-time decision).
"Whether you are fans of Beckham or not, this has added one more layer of anticipation to it," CBC executive producer Chris Irwin said yesterday.
"Will he or won't he? We'll know Sunday. But it'll be front and centre of discussions over the next few days."
CBC is dressing up Sunday's broadcast, shooting the game in 16:9 widescreen format (but not HD) and adding a reverse-angle camera to make sure Beckham's every footstep is captured (though Irwin won't go so far as to call it a "Beckham Cam").
A half-hour preview show airs at 7 p.m., and will contain highlights from Beckham, a British documentary that CBC first showed last Sunday. It gave casual viewers some needed insight into the Beckham phenomenon.
Whether Beckham plays or not, Irwin believes media coverage of his MLS arrival is beginning to achieve its purpose.
"We're already seeing the Beckham effect," he said. "There's pictures of him on the front pages of newspapers. Portions of some newspaper websites are being taken up tracking the Beckham story.
"That's a victory for MLS already."
Sunday's match will also be seen globally, via cbcsports.ca and MLS.net. ESPN2 is airing it in the U.S.
FOOTY FIRMED UP
Looks like the English Premier League soccer picture has finally sorted itself out. The Score will air the Sunday 11 a.m. ET match, while Rogers Sportsnet gets a 10 a.m. game on Saturdays. For the rest, you'll have to tune into a pay-per-view channel being jointly launched by Rogers
Broadcasting and Setanta Sports. It will offer six live games per week, plus another two on tape delay. The cost is $14.99 per month, but Rogers is offering a one-month free trial period (Bell ExpressVu, the only other carrier on board, is expected to do the same). More details are available at blog.canoe.ca/remotecontrol ... Fox Sports World Canada carries Sunday's season-opening Community Shield match between Manchester United and Chelsea at 10 a.m. ET.