David Beckham will play a one-off exhibition match with Los Angeles Galaxy against Australia's Newcastle Jets next month in a major coup for the A-League club, officials said on Wednesday.
The ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder, one of the world's top-earning sportsmen, will headline the 27 November fixture at the Jets' modest 26,000-capacity stadium north of Sydney.
"This is fantastic news for football fans and for tourism in the Hunter (Valley)," said the region's state MP, Jodi McKay. "The phenomenal global interest in David Beckham, World Cup hero Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy team means Newcastle and the Jets will be in the spotlight for sports enthusiasts from around the world."
The ambitious bid was revealed on Tuesday, just weeks after the former A-League champions were rescued from financial ruin by youthful coal tycoon Nathan Tinkler. Newcastle, which boasts the world's biggest coal port, also lies in the scenic Hunter Valley region known for its wineries.
Beckham, 35, appeared in front of a sell-out 80,000 crowd at Sydney's former Olympic stadium in 2007, but reported plans for a second visit in 2008 were axed after he joined AC Milan on temporary loan.
The Newcastle Herald said Beckham would be the biggest player to visit the coal town since 1967, when Bobby Charlton and George Best played for Manchester United against Northern NSW at the No1 Sportsground.