David Beckham and golfing star Greg Norman are suing gym franchise F45 Training for more than $20million (£17.7m) after alleging that that it has sponsorship payments owed to them in cash and stocks.
Both football icon Beckham and golf heavyweight Norman say they signed up to an agreement whereby they would promote F45 Training to help grow the brand.
Their deal allegedly stipulated that the star’s compensation would be an annual payment, said to be $1.5m (£1.3m) for Beckham – as well as percentage of the company’s stock.
The two sports stars claim in a new lawsuit that due to their association with the brand, which also saw Beckham reportedly carry out photo shoots, social media posts and public and private appearances as part of his promotional work, the company was able to go public in 2021 with a valuation almost three times higher than it had two years prior.
According to legal documents obtained by The Blast, Beckham and Norman now say that F45 Training has failed to pay them ‘substantial cash and equity compensation’, resulting in the multi-million-dollar legal action.
The company representing both stars also argues that the fitness franchise was able to substantially benefit from its relationship with the high-profile international sporting figures, who ‘enhanced its public profile and credibility and helped roll out new fitness offerings for F45’.
However, since the company’s business began to falter this year, due to ‘fiscal mismanagement and macroeconomic pressures’ according to the lawsuit, it began to allegedly withhold the millions it owes Beckham and Norman, and the valuation of its shares has plummeted.
On July 14, Beckham was due $5m (£4.4m) from F45 as it celebrated the first anniversary of its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Beckham also claims he has lost nearly $10m (£8.8m) after stock prices plunged from around $11.33m (£10.02m) when he first vested on January 15, 2022, to just around $1.97m (£1.74m) on September 23 this year.
The lawsuit slams this as ‘a mere fraction of the value [Beckham’s Company] would have received had F45 timely complied with its contractual obligations’.
Beckham, whose involvement with the Qatar World Cup has been catching heat recently, also alleges that F45 gave ‘preferential treatment’ to other investors, which allowed them to profit more from their ownership.
It was Beckham’s celebrity friend Mark Wahlberg who appears to have sealed the deal with the retired football player’s involvement, the lawsuit suggests.
In 2019, he acquired a 36% stake in F45 Training, which also recruited basketball star Magic Johnson, supermodel Cindy Crawford as other celebrity partners.
Beckham has also been busy with his new documentary for Disney Plus, Save Our Squad, which sees him mentor Westward Boys, a young grassroots team who are at the bottom of their league – the same one Beckham played in as a youngster.
The series is set to drop on the streaming service on November 9.