When David Beckham was spotted in the Macau crowd at last weekend's Manny Pacquio vs. Brandon Rio fight -- his handsome mug given a nice share of screen time -- most of us assumed he was there just as a boxing fan.
Turns out there was a little deal in the works as well.
Global resort developer Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Beckham Ventures just announced a partnership that will have the retired footballer team up with the brand's integrated resort properties in Macao and Singapore.
David Beckham, hotelier? Has a nice ring to it. And it's likely the former England captain knows a thing or two about sheet thread counts given the amount of time he's logged on the road.
But sadly, as much as many of us would love to stay in a Beckham-designed suite, it seems his expertise will be put to use in other areas.
Details on specific projects weren't released but according to LVS the partnership will be based around the development of "dining, retail and leisure concepts" at Sands China properties in Macao and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
"We have billions of dollars invested in our own global, iconic brands and we clearly understand the importance of growing and sustaining those brands over time," said Michael Leven, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp, in a statement.
"The odds are extremely high that a partnership with David Beckham will help us further those efforts and provide David with the same benefit. We are very excited about the partnership and we fully expect it to grow in the years to come, especially as we aggressively explore opportunities to further expand our presence in Asia."
"Now that I've conquered bodywear, perhaps it's time to make my move into hotels."
That's corporate speak for "David Beckham's name brings in big bucks."
"The Sands team has created amazing resorts in Singapore and Macau," said Beckham in a statement.
"The scale, vision and caliber in all that they do is impressive. I am very excited to be working with them to develop a range of new business ideas in a part of the world that I love spending time in and is full of optimism and growth."
What's Becks getting himself into?
Macau has 33 casinos -- with more on the way -- run by six casino operators: SJM Holdings (Stanley Ho), Wynn Macau, Sands China, Galaxy Entertainment Group, MGM China Holdings and Melco Crown Entertainment.
According to a recent report in Bloomberg, gambling revenue in the Chinese city rose 18% to 297.1 billion patacas ($37.2 billion) in the first 10 months of this year, close to the $38 billion revenue the city raked in for the whole of 2012. That's six times more than the Las Vegas Strip earned.
Leading the way is the Sands' Venetian property. With almost 540,000 square feet of gaming space, it has the largest casino floor in the world. The Las Vegas Sands group spent $2.4 billion to build this replica of the Las Vegas original.
In Singapore, there are only two casinos -- Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s Marina Bay Sands and Genting Singapore PLC's Resorts World Sentosa. They generated about $5.85 billion in gambling revenue in 2012, putting Singapore behind Vegas for third in the world gaming revenue rankings.
With 2,560 rooms and more than 10,000 staff, the $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands has become Singapore's most famous landmark since opening in 2010 thanks to the boat-shaped rooftop that connects its three towers and dominates the skyline.
Beckham's Miami dreams
Casino resorts aren't the only area of business Beckham is looking at right now.
As CNN reported on November 18, basketball superstar Lebron James said he's interested in teaming up with the former L. A. Galaxy player to bring a new Major League Soccer franchise to Miami. Beckham, who retired from professional football in May, publicly expressed his desire to become a club owner at a book launch in September.
"I'm passionate about staying in football and being an owner of a team is something I'm passionate about," the 38-year-old said on a show broadcast live on Facebook to his 30 million followers.
"Miami is one of the places we looked at, and we've looked at others too."