Fifteen Years of “Beckhamology” and David’s Coming Third Age

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  • Title: Fifteen Years of “Beckhamology” and David’s Coming Third Age
  • Author(s): Momin Rahman, Cornel Grey
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Sport & Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Sport and Society
  • Keywords: Ageing, Beckham, Celebrity, Sports Stars, Third Age
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2152-7857 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2152-7865 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Rahman, Momin, and Cornel Grey. 2017. "Fifteen Years of “Beckhamology” and David’s Coming Third Age." The International Journal of Sport and Society 8 (3): 1-11. doi:10.18848/2152-7857/CGP/v08i03/1-11.
  • Extent: 11 pages


In this article, we review the major dimensions of the sports celebrity literature on David Beckham. We identify first and second ages of Beckham’s celebrity, describing a shift from the emphasis on his status as a sports star toward a mainstream celebrity that resonates more broadly than his original career, specifically in terms of fashion, family, and lifestyle. Throughout both stages, however, there has been a focus on his representation of masculinity, particularly in terms of how he both reflected and contributed to transformations in masculinity toward a more “metrosexual” norm. We then argue that the emphasis on Beckham’s athletic prowess will return to centre stage in the next phase of his celebrity. Although this may be understood chronologically as his “third” phase of stardom, we suggest that it will emerge because Beckham has reached the threshold of the sociological, rather than chronological, “Third Age.” Using the example of Beckham, we argue that the key components that ageing celebrities model for the Third Age have a keen affinity with the qualities associated with sports stars. We conclude, therefore, that we will see an increasing use of ageing and retired sports celebrities to model and promote Third Age identities and lifestyles to ageing consumers, in a way that reintroduces their athleticism as central to their celebrity status.