MLS expected to announce Beckham’s expansion plans in February

DavidBeckhamSuit1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Major League Soccer’s return to Miami could be just around the corner.

Even though David Beckham and his ownership group missed an agreed deadline with MLS of Dec. 31 for officially joining the league, MLS Commissioner Don Garber revealed at the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday that although the league isn’t ready to declare Miami as the newest MLS franchise, there should be an announcement on Beckham’s future expansion plans within the next 30 days.

“I was down there this past weekend, and I’ve been down there a lot, working with potential ownership and trying to finalize a stadium plan.” Garber told members of the press at the draft. ”Right now, we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ll announce something in early February.”

Beckham, who retired from play last May after a half-season with Paris Saint-Germain, has quietly been courting a number of high-profile celebrities and entrepreneurs to join his ownership group for a new MLS franchise. Previous reports have indicated that Beckham has decided on Miami as the location for the future club and he’s currently considering multiple sites including one at the Port of Miami.

The former LA Galaxy star was given a cut-rate $25 million entry fee as part of his original contract upon joining MLS if he wanted to become an investor-operator in the league when he retired. Beckham is currently working with his manager Simon Fuller and billionaire Miami resident Marcelo Claure on securing a stadium site and funding.

In December, Miami-Dade County officials approved a resolution allowing Beckham’s ownership group to negotiate for a stadium to be build. The latest reports have suggested that Beckham’s group has identified a plot of land in the Southwest corner of the Port of Miami and using county land to build a 25,000 seat soccer-specific stadium.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen,” Garber said last December. “We can’t go to Miami without the right stadium solution. David understands that. The city understands that. That’s an indisputable fact. We can’t have different rules in Miami than we have in any other city.

“We want to do as much as we can to work with David and Simon Fuller to get something done as quickly as we can.”

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What do you think of this news? Do you think Beckham can secure a stadium site in 30 days? Do you expect the league to award Miami with an expansion franchise by this summer.

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28 Responses to MLS expected to announce Beckham’s expansion plans in February

  1. beto says:

    “We can’t have different rules in Miami than we have in any other city.” ya but NYC should be fine…

    a Miami MLS team that is done right – that is something that I can get excited about.

    • MLSfan says:

      Exactly… NYCFC gets prefferantial treatment.

      • whoop-whoop says:

        It’s not fair!

        The tax code, the airport, job promotions…. MLS… welcome to the real world son.

        • Chad Leddy says:

          All I know is that Orlando City is the most current expansion franchise that had to break their back and bones to acquire an MLS franchise.

          Both NYCFC and Miami (Beckham) are darlings of MLS (Garber)

          • whoop-whoop says:

            I understand and certainly if I were in Orlando I’d feel hard put upon. Sure enough these two have darling status in comparison, but it isn’t arbitrary or because Don likes them more… ultimately, it is a business and all situations and ownership groups don’t possess the same risk vs reward… advantages, capitol, exposure, market… earning potential. It’s simple, the more you have to offer, the more leverage you have in negotiations.

            • 407 says:

              OC fan in Orlando here: it’s a non-issue. We’re in, we’ve been having a blast for almost three and a half years now, the club I/we follow is building an amazingly broad, sound, and durable foundation from a very large development academy in the north end of town to the new stadium that will break ground in a few weeks in downtown proper. And best of all, we only have to wait a few more days before we finally get back to watching our boys on the field with the very long awaited preseason about to finally start.

              Good luck to NYC. We look forward to a robust rivalry with Miami. More power to both of them; if/when they succeed, it will be better for both US domestic league and national team soccer.

              But we were built from the ground up. And nothing will ever change that.

              • Green76 says:

                A true and deep fan base will get the team off to a great MLS start. Best wishes from Oregon!

              • whoop-whoop says:

                Great… in my mind perfect response. These differences in club makeup and fan base are what drive/make a league interesting to follow. I’m looking forward to seeing what Orlando brings and wish nothing but success…. sounds like you all have a good thing going there!

          • seaoctopus says:

            Without Beckham where would MLS be?

  2. Ian says:

    Wishy-washy deadlines notwithstanding, Beckham is an asset to MLS, so I’m glad he’ll be a major part of the Miami franchise. He’s got the Midas touch. Even if Miami is a dubious location, I think he’ll make it work and it’ll be flashy.

    • wood chip zip says:

      there will be a lot of buzz for a year or two, but after a few years it will be a flop like every other FL pro sports team. They just cant draw the fans.

      • AristotleTimVickery says:

        they’ll have to do things differently this time. I’m thinking they’ll have to sign top english, brazilian and central american players to succeed. Anything short of that will be a flop.

  3. IndyElevenFan says:

    Miami has failed once. It will fail again. Folks in Miami-Dade are fickle and if you don’t produce championships – every year – you will not have attendance. Why force a franchise on a city when you have other cities ready, willing, and jumping at the chance to join MLS.

    Don’t believe me? This is a picture of a regular Marlins game:
    link to img.gawkerassets.com

    • Weston John says:

      The Marlin’s owner, Jeffrey Loria, and David Beckham come from two different molds. One is the most dishonest owner in American sport franchises…the other is highly respected and well-trusted.

      Baseball and soccer are 2 different sports, so it’s comparing apples to oranges.

      Time will tell, but I have faith that MLS Miami is going to work out. For the vast majority of fans down here, soccer is their favorite sport. Beckham’s ownership group just has to make fans take some of their attention away from La Liga and the South America leagues and Liga MX, and create a place in their hearts for a new hometown team. Definitely a challenge, but he can make it happen.

      • drew11 says:

        And Miami-Dade is a different mold. Nearly all the urban folks there do not have the money for pro sports. The small hipster demo in urban Miami will consider themselves far too sophisticated for MLS. This has box office fail written all over it. Miami is not Portland, sorry.

        • Ian says:

          All that means is MLS Miami has its marketing work cut out for it. Price the tickets right, play pointless-yet-lucrative friendlies with Latin American and Euro clubs (a la LA Galaxy every summer), create a grassroots community with academies, sponsorships, street teams, etc.

    • Jay in Florida says:

      Are you calling me fickle sir? I am part of the South Florida Demographic. But honestly, we have so many different types of Ethnic backgrounds down here that if done right we can have a great club in Miami. First of all, a couple of big name signings will turn some heads and get people interested. Secondly, there is huge soccer/football following down here from Brazilians to Mexicans to Americans, Colombians, Central Americans, Jamaicans, Haitians, Europeans, Etc. There is a large amount of potential and as MLS continue to grow and gain more respect worldwide people down here in turn would start rooting for the local team.

      TBH Miami Dolphins and Miami Marlins are poorly run franchises so it’s easy to get discourage and not attend their games. All we have down is the Heat. I guarantee you if Miami FC or whatever the team is called is run like Chivas USA or Toronto FC it’ll sink fast but we have potential to be another Great Soccer city if the franchise is ran correctly unlike the Marlins or Dolphins.

    • RK says:

      Wait, winning leads to attendance?

    • IndyElevenFan says:

      To be more on point, the problem isn’t that a team’s fan base can’t “grow,” but rather why isn’t it already there (i.e. the model in the Upper Northwest/ Cascadia)? Here in Indy, we had a ravenous fan base ready for soccer to come and we’ve sold out every season ticket at break-neck speed with a wait list that is longer than most MLS teams’.

      It’s always easy to blame a teams success/ failure on ownership or where the stadium is located. The point is, a dedicated, already established fan base (as was once to great success a sticking point for MLS expansion) wouldn’t care how good or bad the team was doing or how cocked up the ownership group was or where the stadium was located. They’d complain, but they’d still come out, sing songs, beat on drums, and chant their chants because that’s their side fighting for them.

      The examples we have in Miami (‘Phins/ Marlins/ Panthers (did you forget that there is a Hockey team in Miami??)/ and to a lesser extent the pre-LeBron&Wade&Bosh Heat) are perfect examples of not supporting their team to the fullest extent.

  4. beto says:

    People familiar with Miami, this Port of Miami location? thoughts?

    the view looks amazing and it is about as prime of a location as it gets but can you see yourself getting there every weekend for a game? will they have to shuttle people in on boat?

    also how is this going to impact the Fort Lauderdale Strikers? are they going to be fine with a second south Florida team?

    • drew11 says:

      It’s a terrible location that is writing off a huge chunk of South Florida residents that will never trek to that spot on a consistent basis. The folks in close proximity to that site can’t or won’t support MLS.

      I am actually not against a stadium in Miami-Dade but that is a terrible spot. MLS needs a stadium in someplace more accessible to everybody. The urban demo will not carry an MLS team in South Florida.

      • over there says:

        And public transportation in Miami is just a mobile homeless shelter that can’t bring anyone in from where the actual fanbase will be. It will look pretty, right up until it is empty on game day.

  5. slowleftarm says:

    I think this has failure written all over it. Same fanbase that didn’t support MLS before, same fanbase that doesn’t support its other pro sports teams, same fanbase that left game 6 of the NBA finals early, then complained when they weren’t allowed back in.

    Leaving that aside, can one of our Miami friends let us know whether the parcel of land being proposed is a good spot, centrally located etc.?

  6. Human says:

    Yet people forget how much the state of Florida is struggling economically. Housing market, jobs, not to mention the criminal activity. Miami has some of the highest economic disparity in the state.

  7. El Paso tx says:

    Calm down MLS and soccer fanatics. Miami is on the same page as nycfc, since they will get a top of the line stadium, very recognizable DPs and if they average 18000 that will be good enough.
    This is good for the league, thank god red bull and galaxy and sounders will have competition for dps. Too bad big markets like Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Denver, dc, Montreal, Boston don’t have the enthusiasm like Becks has on Miami and attitude towards a successful team.
    Imagine Miami with Christiano Ronaldo or ronaldinho or even Rooney or messi. But they will easily get 3 dps and very hot models in the stands. Ashley sky, please go to a game with Candice swanpoel and molly cavalli :)

    • Brain Guy says:

      Watch out there with the 18,000 target. When RBNY doesn’t sell out every game many on this site call the franchise a failure. I suspect that given the Mankees’ presumably superior location for all those underserved NYC soccer fans who won’t cross the Hudson, they will expect them to sell out even Yankee Stadium. Or have plenty of excuses ready.

  8. Coco says:

    I don’t think the franchise system will ever work with soccer. Most people see soccer as a global game with independent clubs and passion for those clubs. The franchise system is too american. It’s inauthentic as well