David Beckham is to join Sky Sports as an ambassador promoting its grassroots sport initiative Living for Sport.
Described as a ‘long-term partnership’, the deal will see Beckham play a leading role across the breadth of Sky’s work to support grassroots sport and encourage participation across Britain and Ireland.
The former England captain, who now plays for France’s Ligue 1 leaders Paris St-Germain, will also feature in adverts to promote the media giant’s range of live sport and services.
As a national sporting icon, Beckham is considered as an inspirational role model to millions of young people.
In his role as a Sky ambassador, he will help to use the power of sport to change lives through the successful Sky Sports Living for Sport initiative.
Now in its tenth year, this free initiative uses the life-changing stories and expertise of athlete mentors to inspire young people to learn new skills and improve their lives.
Around 30,000 young people a year participate in the programme, which reaches one third of all secondary schools in Britain and has just launched in Ireland.
In joining Sky as an ambassador, Beckham teams up with other sporting icons who are part of the company’s strong and deep-rooted support for British sport and grassroots participation.
They include Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis, who became an ambassador for Sky Sports last year, Sir David Brailsford and Sir Bradley Wiggins.
On linking up with Sky, Beckham said: “Sky have followed my career since I broke into the Manchester United first team.
“They have done a huge amount to promote and encourage involvement in sport in Britain and I’m delighted to be joining them.
“I’ve always been passionate about the importance of sport in the lives of young people.
“It’s not all about winning; just getting involved in sport gives you confidence and skills for life.
“I was lucky to have some amazing role models when I was younger, and I’m excited about the opportunity to work with Sky to pass on some of that knowledge to the next generation.”
Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s chief executive, added: “It’s great to welcome David to Sky. Sport is at the heart of what we do and both we and David believe in its power to excite, inspire and change lives.
“As a hero and inspiration on and off the field, David is a perfect ambassador to help us get more people involved in sport.”
Beckham confirmed in a subsequent interview with Sky Sports News that his new role will not involve any punditry work on Sky Sports’ football coverage.
Sport has been at the heart of BSkyB’s operation for over 20 years, providing customers with unrivalled live coverage across six Sky Sports channels at home, online and on the move.
This investment in rights, airtime and promotion benefits sport at all levels, on and off the pitch, and Sky works closely with governing bodies and other partners to inspire and excite fans of all ages.
Partnerships include Sky’s support of British Cycling, which has inspired over one million more people to get on their bikes.
The ECB Coach Education Programme has helped train thousands of cricket coaches at all levels, and Sky Sports Living for Sport which reaches a third of all secondary schools, using sport skills and mentors to help improve the lives of over 30,000 young people each year.
The Sky Sports schedules includes a commitment to all levels of sport, including coverage of youth and disabled sport as well as women’s sport each month of the year, plus grass roots initiatives such as rugby’s School of Hard Knocks.
Sky’s deal with Beckham follows new rival BT Sport’s acquisition of Tottenham and Wales winger Gareth Bale as an ambassador and occasional pundit for its 38 live Premier League games from next season.