Rumors continue to circulate about the newest city to be awarded an expansion MLS franchise. Regardless of whether it is Sacramento, Cincinnati or Detroit, the MLS will be expanding in the near future. One city that is not a current finalist, but is likely to land a squad in the coming years is Miami. Here’s what we know about Miami’s prospective group that hopes to attract an MLS franchise.
Build It Like Beckham
Former soccer superstar David Beckham is the face and spokesperson of the group that is seeking a Miami-based franchise. But he is only one part of the ownership group – there are eight people currently attached to the group. Toronto Maple Leafs owner Tim Leiweke and Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boehly are two powerful businessmen who are combining forces with Beckham. Others in the group include American Idol producer Simon Fuller and Sprint CEO Marcelo Clure.
This has been a long-term project for the 42-year-old Beckham. When he first came to the L.A. Galaxy from Real Madrid, he was promised the chance to start a franchise for $25 million instead of the standard fee of $150 million. Beckham chose to exercise that option three years ago when he first approached the city of Miami about building a soccer stadium. Not long after, Beckham was granted the priveledge to begin construction on a stadium in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood.
MLS In Miami
While Beckham’s group has excited south beach, it would not be the first time the city hosted an MLS franchise. The Miami Fusion played there from 1997-2001. But after the team vacated following the 2001 season, the area has not seen another pro team. Beckham’s group is not ready to vie for 2018 expansion, but a 2020 date would make a lot of sense. The MLS hopes to expand to 24 franchises by that year and the Miami group backed by Beckham may be too appealing to turn down.