The David Beckham Press Conference (TM) was shown live on CCTV-5, the Chinese national broadcaster’s sports channel, at 2.30pm Beijing time today (and included a couple of searching questions from yours truly!). Here are five things I’d wanted to know, along with the answers:
1. What was the most inane question asked at the press conference?
2. How long until the first mention of Victoria?
Answer: A strangely long five minutes or so, while talking about his family, after being prompted by the moderator.
3. Will he be wearing Nike or Adidas?
Answer: Ever the pro (or with a pro team behind him), he dodged this potential hotspot and stayed in his suit all day long – yes, even when playing soccer with the kids (though he took off his jacket to the delight of the females watching).
4. How many journalists will ask for autographs?
Answer: The line between journalists and willing stooges/fans is a very fine one in China. A Chinese official gives a long boring speech; the journalists applaud. A video is played; the journalists applaud. David Beckham breathes; the journalists applaud (you get the picture). Not sure how many journalists asked for autographs, but if it wasn’t for surprisingly good security for the most part, there would still be a line of hacks waving pieces of paper in front of him.
5. Will there be a rush to grab a leftover water bottle at the end (see Li Keqiang incident)?
Answer: Most annoyingly of all, we never got the chance to find out – there was no desk with water bottles, as Becks roamed the stage on foot.
Bonus questions, since the above didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped…
6. Best unseen moment?
Answer: The BBC’s Damian Grammaticas, who was sitting next to me in the audience, breaking with the traditional “1 question per reporter” rule, and physically wrestling over the microphone with an IMG rep while trying to ask his third question. CCTV stayed on Becks throughout, and you’d never know anything was amiss from his reaction.
7. Cutest moment?
Answer: When a young girl asked Becks what his favorite Chinese food was, he replied “Noodles”. “Me too!” she beamed, without a moment’s hesitation. OK so it was probably staged, but she passed it off like a natural.
Bonus picture of me asking Sir David a couple of questions: