Report: Garber, Beckham expected to announce expansion plans on Wednesday

DavidBeckhamBooksigning1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

A stadium deal isn’t yet in place, but David Beckham and Major League Soccer are looking very likely to return to Miami.

Beckham has exercised the clause in his contract to buy into MLS as an investor-operator and will be in Miami on Tuesday and Wednesday along with MLS Commissioner Don Garber to rally support for an MLS club in Miami, according to the Miami Herald. Beckham and Garber are currently scheduled to hold a press conference on Wednesday morning, with a major announcement expected.

Stadium negotiations are continuing between Beckham’s management group and Miami-Dade County officials. Beckham’s preferred stadium site is a piece of county-owned land in the southwest portion of PortMiami. The Herald reports that a stadium deal could be reached “in the next few months.”

Beckham and Garber will attend an invitation-only reception on Tuesday evening before attending the press conference the next morning. On Wednesday afternoon, Beckham is expected to hold a meet-and-greet with youth soccer players at Kendall Soccer Park, southwest of Miami.

When Beckham signed with MLS in 2007, he was given an option to buy into the league for a cut-rate price of $25 million to operate any club outside the New York City market once he retired. It was expected since Beckham retired last May that he would join MLS as an owner and run a new expansion franchise.

MLS has already had a franchise in Miami (though they played their home games in Fort Lauderdale), the Miami Fusion, which operated from 1998 to 2001. The team was contracted, along with the Tampa Bay Mutiny, following the 2001 season.

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What do you think of this development? Excited for MLS to return to Miami? Do you see Beckham getting his preferred stadium site? Think this is a mistake for MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

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52 Responses to Report: Garber, Beckham expected to announce expansion plans on Wednesday

  1. The Imperative Voice says:

    It might have been wise to hint at this over the weekend while the media spotlight was on NYC and he was in town.

    In light of Miami’s history it might also have been wise of the league to secure the stadium deal before the announcement.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      You mean Miami’s history of voting in support for otherwise unpopular sports stadiums in the middle of the night unannounced? That history? I think maybe that makes MLS a little more secure.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        We’ll see, if they don’t, they’re stuck in Lockhart or something like that where teams have been tried and failed.

    • Weston John says:

      I thought it was very strange that Beckham didn’t even mention MLS Miami when he was on Jimmy Kimmel on Friday. I guess the sole purpose of that appearance was to pimp the underwear.

  2. Increase says:

    That add during the Superbowl was weird. Like only 1 person in the room besides me knew that he was supposed to be famous.

  3. Brain Guy says:

    This is MLS, where soccer-specific stadiums are a key building block. Unless you’re NYC. Or Davud Beckham.

  4. slowleftarm says:

    Looks like we have years of games played before half-empty stadiums to look forward to.

    • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

      I don’t think so. It’s a different time in MLS now and a different time in Miami. You have talks of LeBron joining Becks as a partial owner, the explosion of social media, no way these games go unattended. I do with the stadium deal was in place before the announcemnet but I’m sure that’s what this press conference is for – to drum up support for the stadium.

      • slowleftarm says:

        Miami is a bad sports town with no history of supporting soccer. I don’t think fans will show up now just because Beckham/LeBron own the team and there is an explosion in social media. Speaking of LeBron, remember this is the same fanbase that left game 6 of the NBA finals early.

        • whoop-whoop says:

          Not that I see a rabid grassroots supporters group of multi thousands ready to descend on a Miami franchise, but… a soccer fanbase will inherently be quite a bit different than an NBA fanbase. The majority of seats at an NBA game are hundreds of dollars / inaccessible to working class folks and attract marginally interested fans with corporate sponsored tickets etc. As an outsider who has never lived in Miami, I admit to some skepticism, but do think this group has the ingredients to make it work. Hopefully they avoid the temptation and don’t only focus on attracting the jetset/celebrity “beautiful people” of Miami. In general, really do think MLS misses a great opportunity promoting the league and contrasting itself with the affordability of games, how close a fan can get to the action and the games stars. I took a friend with little knowledge of the game to a Galaxy game at StubHub and had an instant convert. He couldn’t believe how cheap it was, how close to the action you really are and how into the game the fans were as opposed to an NFL game which is definitely made for TV.

    • Riggis says:

      I agree about the half empty stadiums we’ll be looking forward to seeing…I agree that a new SSS in Miami would be a success (at least in the short term)…but seeing how politics (DC) can affect delays it could take years for Miami to make it happen…In the meantime they’ll be playing in half empty stadiums…Not the look MLS needs…Looks like Garber is forcing this thru (expansion) and will soon be regretting it.

  5. William the Terror says:

    Beckham’s Benders, FC. The shirt sponsor will be Paul Mitchell hair products.

    • Cairo says:

      I am sorry, but this team will be known as “The Spice Girls”. Doesn’t matter what the official name is…

  6. argh says:

    24 MLS teams by 2020

    I hope they stop it at that and just raise the 2nd/3rd divisions into proper leagues.

    so we’ll have NYCFC, Orlando, Miami, Minnesota, Atlanta and probably San Antonio

    sorry ST. LOUIS

    • WiscFan says:

      20. NYCFC
      21. Orlando City
      22. Miami
      23.
      24.

      There 2 spots open to reach the stated 24 goal by 2020. But I agree that seems to be the more popular pool of markets: Atlanta, Minnesota, San Antonio and St. Louis. There many dark horses out there though. Orlando wasn’t even a consideration in 2010.

      • Plushcorduroy says:

        You can go ahead and pencil in Atlanta for 23. There are grunblongd that the team will be announced around the first week of March and that Falcons Ticket Sales personal got a memo saying they will start pushing MLS tickets come March as well.

        • argh says:

          so that would leave the last spot going to San Antonio or Minnesota. Texas could use a 3rd club but also the MidWest needs another club

      • Mooncusser says:

        And if worse comes to worst, or better to best, the USSF will threaten the league with decertification if it doesn’t force the owners of the Canadian teams to sell to US-based groups. If space truly becomes the problem…

        It would all be seen as diplomatic, of course, but some desk-pounding and phone-slamming could very well happen.

    • IndyElevenFan says:

      Ugh…ATLANTA!!??!! The only city in the world to lose TWO professional sports teams to different cities because no one went to the games? Great….

      Also, Minnesota and Atlanta – from what I’ve heard – will be tenants in NFL stadiums. I thought MLS was over that, right?

      St. Louis should get a team – period. Two great natural rivalries (Chicago and KC), soccer history up the wazoo, and a town that will have a lot of extra money laying around if the rumors are true that the Rams are moving back out to L.A.

      • solles says:

        cant just give st louis a team with no infrastructure, are you going to pay for it?

      • Danielofthedale says:

        Well if you did not live in Atlanta you really don’t understand what happened to with the Thrashers and the string of events that lead up to them leaving the City. And Atlanta is not the only city to have more than one team relocate.

        As for the stadium, yes they will play in the Falcons new Stadium but the stadium is said to have a state of the art secondary roof that will reduce the stadium to just the lower of bowl of 25-30k.

        There is also a new supporters group that has just formed that has good momentum behind it. I know there is a fanbase for MLS in Atlanta.

      • Michael says:

        The likes of Seattle (Pilots & Sonics), Cleveland (Rams & Browns), San Diego (Rockets & Clippers), Minneapolis (Lakers & North Stars), and Los Angeles (Rams & Raiders) are very disappointed that you don’t consider them to be “cities in the world.”

        Also, St. Louis once had the NFL Cardinals and the Hawks, the latter of whom now play in…wait for it…

    • solles says:

      Hey if St Louis had an owner and some hint of a stadium plan I’m sure they would have topped the list. Dont apologize to/for them, theyre the ones who cant get it together.

  7. argh says:

    what Super Bowl ad?

  8. Madden's Chin says:

    If he actively partakes in the branding and making himself part of the brand, it’s a win. Have him show up all over the place for cameras and they will get more press than anyone.

    • IndyElevenFan says:

      Press alone does not put butts in seats. He’s a celebrity and the Miami area is full of them. If there was SOOO many passionate fans in the area (as we’re led to believe) where are the supporters clubs that randomly exist waiting on baited breath for a team (Philly, Indy, and other locations are prime examples of this).

    • argh says:

      in the beginning Yes, but if he’s the only source of PR, then the club will sink. they need to find their own identity beyond being his pet project

  9. nickp says:

    no Miami Fusion mistake for David Beckham

  10. Brian Hall says:

    I don’t see how Miami can support an MLS team. Let’s face it the fan base for soccer in the US is hipsters who like sports but don’t like mainstream things so MLS is perfect for them. I will admit I have never been to Miami but it doesn’t strike me as a city with much of a hipster culture. Miami fans take pride in a laid back cool hence why the arrive late to Heat playoff games and leave early. The Dolphins and Marlins rank last or nearly last in attendance.

    • drew11 says:

      This is correct. The port is a bad location. The urban demo will not carry a MLS club in Miami. The folks close to the stadium either can’t or won’t support MLS. Those farther a field won’t be going to a stadium in that location on a consistent basis. This is a major mistake by MLS. Miami-Dade is not Portland and a cookie cutter urban stadium plan will fail.

    • MiamiAl says:

      -1

      You dont know what you are talking about.

      • drew11 says:

        Where is the public grassroots support for MLS and US Soccer in Miami-Dade?

        What Miami FCs attendance?

        That there is little support for US soccer in Miami-Dade should tell you something about the future of Beckham FC with a stadium at the port.

        • Travis in Miami says:

          Drew, I know where you are coming from. Seriously. But people here love soccer/futbol first. Having a conversation about the soccer world is easier here than any other place I’ve experienced life – NY, Mpls being the other places. It’s simply part of the culture. This means it doesn’t have to be limited to hipsters.

          Miami FC was terribly marketed. They couldn’t decide where they wanted to play and moved the venue around all over the place from way west Dade to Broward sometimes even in the same season. There’s no way to build a fan base when that happens.

          Having a “cool” face(s) behind this venture will put bodies in the seats ***at first***. After that it’s the team’s management and MLS talent pool to keep them. This CAN work. I give a 60-40 shot.

    • Mooncusser says:

      That the MLS core are hipsters doesn’t mean that Miami must rely on them. In fact, the idea of a team being supported by The Beautiful People and difficult-to-impress immigrants now appeals to me, given the insufferability of the hipsters.

  11. argh says:

    why doesn’t ST.LOUIS have a club or potential for a franchise?

    it’s a soccer hotbed and yet no investors.

    • WiscFan says:

      I thought I heard grumblings that a USL PRO team may head there in 2016 or 2017. I wouldn’t bet on it, but you never know.

    • Mike in Missouri says:

      No local owner willing to make it happen. Get that, and they will come.

  12. Danielofthedale says:

    MLS and David Beckham are not in the business of losing money. When people are risking so much you would foolish to think they have not multiple market research studies to see how feasible the Miami market is and it has to show that a team can be successful.

  13. Stephen Healy says:

    looking forward to seeing world class stadium in the sunshine state

  14. Vic says:

    It really comes down to Miami being a nice place that Beckham would like to live or spend significant time in. That is the main justification. St. Louis and Atlanta are better options for a team but not as nice to live in for a Celebrity of Beckham’s status.

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      No they arent. Miami has a broader intl appeal then both of those cities; combined. This is better for drawing Talent to the league. As for organic support; I agree with u there. But Becks is Becks. if there is anyone who can get ppl in seats it’s him.

  15. Tony says:

    I’m sure becks can turn this team into another money making venture, but I also hope he talks to mls and tells them hey I want to field a great team I need two more dps and a salary cap increase cause with all these teams coming in and the current talent leaving to Mexico Europe or just being subpar mls is headed into dangerous territory where they will have support but the games will not be of enough quality to sustain the current growth and excitement seen for these teams.

  16. atpdc says:

    Gents- with a proper stadium this market will be able to draw some of the biggest names in the world. Period. This gives us another destination club and none of us should be complaining looking 3 years down the road. Worldwide merchandising will be huge for Miami FC gear with the city reputation, Beckham and whatever world class talent he brings with him. Trust me, this club will elevate the league’s brand well past what a more deserving market could hope.

  17. marta in miami says:

    Original SBI Mafia here….kinda…know Ives from the Fusion days…our aFUSIONados along with DC Scum and ESC at MetroBulls helped to pioneer the league for supportes clubs. They had over 3500 emails in the old days….the formed the Miami Ultras and supported local lower division soccer…the formed MLS Miami Bid on facebook with over 5000 Fusion fans and sent over 20000 tweets from @miami_mls which will become @southern_legion the new name of the aFUSIONados to support the team….they met with Becks and Marcelo Claure last June so please DO NOT INSULT that there is no fan group. Our Fusion records still stand twelve years later and was considered the best most dynamic team in the short history of MLS. It will be a huge difference playing in Miami….when they played in the Orange Bowl only twice had 15000 when the league average was only 15000…..It will be fabulous and we will finish what we started with a Championship

  18. marta in miami says:

    oops … typos in case any spelling nazis are around lol!!! Seriously guys with a history of players like Valderrama Serna Preki Bishop Mastroeni Cassar Lagerway Rimando Beckerman Heaps Wynalda Llamosa Chacon Cullen Marshall etc…..and a coach like Ray Hudson do you not realize we will build on our dynamic past with a great future? Players like CR7 RioF Terry Nesta Beasley Altidore Forlan Falcao Neymar and others have said they would love to play here