MLS Miami Notes: Claure hopeful of increase in MLS DP slots, Beckham noncommital on LeBron inclusion, & more

Claure Beckham (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

MIAMI — There is no denying that David Beckham’s future MLS team is going to need star power on the field in order to be successful.

Just how much star power that team will be able to have is something Beckham and his partners will be hoping can increase by the time the team joins MLS.

Current MLS rules only allow teams to have a maximum of three Designated Players on their roster, but Beckham’s business partner, Marcelo Claure, is hoping the league will increase that number to go along with the continued growth and strength of the league.

“In the United States the soccer is growing,” Claure said Wednesday. “There’s more Designated Player roster (slots than ever before) and I think little by little some things are going to be facilitated so that the superstars of the world can look at Miami, MLS as a powerhouse where they will want to play.”

When asked directly whether MLS has made him, Beckham and fellow ownership partner Simon Fuller any assurances about an increase in the number of Designated Players clubs could have, the Bolivian billionaire responded by flatly saying no.

He added, however, that the league’s growth suggests that such a scenario could play out by the time Miami enters the league in 2017.

“We know today there is a certain slot, but we know where the trend is going, so we’re assuming it’s only going to get better and the league is getting better,” said Claure. “You have better TV coverage, it’s a better sport, soccer is growing in America, soccer is growing more and more popular every day here.”

MLS has repeatedly said in recent years that it hopes to be one of the top leagues in the world by 2022.

Here are more notes from Wednesday’s MLS Miami announcement:

BECKHAM NONCOMMITTAL ON LEBRON’S POTENTIAL ROLE

LeBron James joining Beckham’s franchise as a minority owner would seem like a slam dunk given the NBA star’s high profile in South Florida and around the world, but it is anything but guaranteed.

Beckham was asked about James’ possible inclusion as an investor in the expansion Miami club, and was noncommittal in his response. Beckham said it would be a positive to have the Miami Heat star involved in his expansion club, but did not specify if they were still in talks or not.

James, who could opt out of his contract and leave Miami this summer, has previously said he and Beckham have discussed potentially joining forces.

“LeBron is a friend, so we speak as friends about what we’re doing but we’re also speaking as great businessmen,” said Beckham. “If LeBron comes on, then it’ll be amazing because people love him in this city, people love him in sports. He’s not just a great sportsman, but he’s a great man as well and someone that does a lot outside the game as well. To have him in the fold would be a good thing.”

STRIKERS SEE BECKHAM’S ARRIVAL AS POSITIVE

Largely forgotten in all the Beckham-to-Miami hoopla is the impact that the expansion club’s arrival will have on the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. The NASL club is currently struggling to build on the success they showed in their first year back in 2011, and some observers have speculated that Beckham’s team’s arrival will mean the extinction of the Strikers.

Strikers president Tom Mulroy, who was in attendance as Beckham made his announcement on Wednesday, does not see it that way. Instead, Mulroy believes that the buzz Beckham has created will benefit the Strikers, who play about 30 minutes north of Miami in Ft. Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium.

“Anything that is good for soccer is good for us,” Mulroy told SBI. “We’re a soccer franchise, we deal with the soccer community. This many cameras come out to talk about soccer, it’s good for the Strikers, it’s good for the soccer kids that play, the schools.”

Mulroy later added that he believes a rivalry will blossom between the two South Florida clubs and that their close proximity to one another will make it plenty intriguing.

“To us this is the perfect rivalry. Now we have a River-Boca, a Yankees-Mets, whatever your culture is used to having, and there’s a lot of interest here,” said Mulroy as more media gathered around him. “It’s the No. 1 television market in the United States for World Cup when they watch World Cup per capita. There’s kids playing, there’s adults playing, so it just makes sense. It’s a good thing.”

“Again from the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers’ standpoint, having a team next door just makes it more exciting.”

Mulroy also said that the Strikers have not yet had any contact with Beckham.

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Do you expect the number of Designated Players each team can have to be raised by the time Miami enters MLS in 2017? Think LeBron james will become an investor of the club? Think the Strikers will survive in South Florida?

Share your thoughts below.

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54 Responses to MLS Miami Notes: Claure hopeful of increase in MLS DP slots, Beckham noncommital on LeBron inclusion, & more

  1. Boyd W. says:

    “To us this is the perfect rivalry. Now we have a River-Boca, a Yankees-Mets, ”
    This made me chuckle.
    Brazil- Argentina
    Germany- England
    Boca- River
    America- Chivas
    Miami Whitey Tighties- Strikers
    Milan-Inter

    Which one does not fit?

    • Michael says:

      Clearly Milan v Inter. Milan is HORRIBLE this year.

    • Michael says:

      But you’re right, Miami v Strikers ain’t no Trillium Cup.

    • Kosh says:

      Yeah, historic derbies vs. a potential one – don’t make these choices hard on us, please. You have some pretty big names on that list with a long history of issues that predate their competitive teams, and unless you are from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, how do you know this could not become somthing meaningful?

      Plus even if it does not end up being as big as these great noble names you’ve so easily chose to use – here;s the funny thing about derbies – the only thing they have in common is the respect/hatred of the opposition. That’s it. The derby only matters most to those who live it and experience it from its deeper historic roots, and they could care less how other people rank it. The ranking is for the neutrals who get to comment on them but can never fully grasp what it means to be on the wrong side of the street in the wrong colors (not saying this one will be like that but you get my point).

  2. bryan says:

    i absolutely think there will be 4 DPs by the time 2017 comes around. but more importantly, i think the cap will be around $7M by then and hopefully up to $10M by 2020 (assuming the growth continues on the same trajectory). with Seattle, TFC, NYRB, and LA being joined by NYCFC, OCSC, and Miami there will have to be a change. these teams want to spend. then you have Portland and SKC “type” teams that are likely to join those “elite” spending teams as they are doing well financially as well (not to say NYRB is doing well financially at the moment). SKC has already shown they are willing to drop big money for the right player when they matched TFC’s offer for Bradley. while i think Portland is coasting at the moment in terms of spending, they are making money and i wouldn’t be surprised to see them start going after big names soon.

    then you figure if Chivas USA is sold to a new, big-time investor who re-brands the team and moves to another part of LA, you suddenly have a 2nd LA team that will likely spend big money.

    we’ll really get a better idea once we see who teams 23 and 24 are. will Atlanta spend big? would San Antonio? Minneapolis? maybe a team like Houston will start spending serious money by then too. exciting times.

    • MLSsnob says:

      Chivas will always be the Galaxy’s Clippers.

      • bryan says:

        lol true but at least the Clippers got serious with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. that game against the Heat last night was insane.

    • Brett Bates says:

      Well put, I hope you are right on all points (especially with Chivas).

      • AristotleTimVickery says:

        I do hope the billygoats are re-branded. As for 4 DPs, thats likely by 2017. I predict Becks, Marcelo, and Lebron will bring in the Traffic sports guys. MLS probably doesnt want anything to do w/S. American style transfers, especially of the type seen in Brazil where a player can be owned by several entities. Anyway, so the purpose of bringing in Traffic will be to supply a pipeline of talent to Miami while hiding the actual cost of players. Traffic probably hasnt done this in Ft. Lauderdale because there’s no money there. In other words, Mia may have 4 DPs but I suspect that DB will get S. American entities involved who can provide 2 or 3 more players who on the level market would be DP price.

        • Sam U El says:

          I prefer Chivas North.

        • Travis in Miami says:

          Please change my mind about Traffic. They were so incredibly horrible when in charge of Miami FC. They didn’t seem to have a management strategy and definitely were excruciatingly sucky with marketing. In my opinion their exclusion is one of the reasons I’m optimistic that this will work this time.

    • AngelofLA says:

      Well the owner of Colorado Rapid and who hold the more shares in The Arsenal Gunner want to put another team in Los Angeles and what to name it LA Gunners look like he can take over the Chivas USA unless Chivas move to San Diego or up north of CA.

      • bryan says:

        yeah i saw that right after i posted this. i personally hope, if the rumor is true, he takes over Chivas USA.

      • Joe says:

        Kroenke just so happens to also own the St Louis Rams and the NFL has ownership rules about owning other US sport franchises out of your NFL market which is why he transferred ownership of his Denver teams (I think he also had some stake in the Nuggets) to family members. Extremely unlikely he tries to put a third team in LA while still being involved with the a Rapids. Most likely reason for this land purchase is leverage for the Rams as their lease is expiring soon.

    • bottlcaps says:

      I think the salary cap will be raised as a portion of the new TV revenues will go towards player salary and retention, but I also think the added DP’s should be restricted to players under 24. This will reduce the number of “retirees” the MLS attracts from Europe, while at the same time bring in exciting new talent. I think also there should be a “exemption” of so many dollars for US players abroad to return to the MLS. The exemption would attract many US players whom should return, but are loathe to give up lucrative euro contracts, despite sitting on the bench.

      • bryan says:

        on your first point, it’s interesting but someone did the math of the new TV deal and just the English-US rights would give each team (including NYCFC and OCSC) about $3M per team. so basically they get their basic cap back every year with the new deal. then add in Spanish rights and Canadian rights.

        i don’t agree about restricting DPs. the young-DP rule is in place and teams can use it if they want it. no reason to force them to do it. i’m not worried about the “retiree” argument. i think MLS owners, at this point, are smart enough to know what is good for their team. i don’t see how it would make any difference in bringing in “exciting new talent” more than the young-DP rule.

        in your last idea, as in exempt from the cap? like a DP? are you basically saying there should be a DP spot for each team to use on a high profile US player? seems redundant and at that point i would just say add on another DP. let teams use it how they please.

  3. Weston John says:

    A few thoughts:

    1. First off, super excited about MLS Miami.

    2. The salary budget will increase as TV revenue increases and that will naturally lead to higher minimum alaries as well as adding a 4th DP slot. Exciting future ahead.

    3. It would be nice to have Lebron in the ownership group, but I’m more interested in who the GM will be. And the GM will be a lot more critical to how this team comes out of the gate.

    4. Regarding the Strikers and MLS Miami rivalry….Strikers ownership has to start investing a whole heck of a lot more in the club to compete. Players and upgraded stadium. Otherwise, one team spanking another team every year in the Open Cup does not a rivalry make.

    • IndyElevenFan says:

      So…Man United and Man City wasn’t a rivalry until City won the EPL a few years ago?

      • Weston John says:

        IndyEleven: I wrote that one team spanking another team every year in the Open Cup does not a rivalry make.

        MC has 24 wins, MU had 27 wins and there have been 24 draws in league play. In Cup play, MC has 6 wins, MU has 10 wins and there was 1 draw. Sure, MU was spanking MC for a long stretch of years in 80’s and 90’s, but over time, the rivalry is pretty even.

      • Weston John says:

        Maybe USWNT versus Canada is a better counter to my statement.

      • bottlcaps says:

        No, it’s always been an exciting derby and were played with an attitude. It’s up a few notches since the mass infusion of money and talent into MC, but it’s always been a tough match.

  4. nasl to el paso tx says:

    Has anybody read that rapids owner wants to make another team in MLS, is that possible?.
    Wtf is going on

    • MLSsnob says:

      Stan Kronke owning a second MLS team would be a disaster. He already treats the Rapids like a red headed step child to Arsenal. Also, the league doesn’t want 2 team owners and is trying to trend away from that.

      • tim says:

        Silent Stan let’s his businesses get ran by the people in charge of them. Hence Silent Stan. If you want a team who’s owners toss money around, Colorado and Arsenal are not the teams for you.

    • Brett Bates says:

      I saw that.. and he wants to call it the LA Gunners… What is Stan smoking? Kronke’s are a joke in the midwest and the only good thing about them starting a team in LA would be that even more of the US would know how terrible they are.

    • bryan says:

      pretty crazy to want to call it “LA Gunners.” that is awful. i have no doubt he would be forced to sell the Rapids if he really did want an LA team. but i do hope this is the beginning of interest in multiple ownership groups to buy-out Chivas USA.

      • bring nasl el paso tx says:

        he might be playiing mind games with st.louis just to get an nfl stadium but what if he sells the rapids to his son, then buys chivas usa and takes them to st.louis or stays in L.A..
        or he buys into NASL and makes the L.A. gunners which is a really bad name.
        so will he sell.the rapids to his son?
        will he enter the NASL?
        will he buy chivas usa and take them somewhere?
        I say sell rapids to your son, buy chivas usa n rebrand them by staying in LA or taking them to st.louis and no matter what do an nasl team in L.A.

        • MLSsnob says:

          Well moving Chivas out wouldn’t make sense since he just bouth that 21 or so acres of land in LA, my money is on moving the Rams back to LA.

          • bryan says:

            didn’t he say specifically that the land was not because he wanted to move the Rams back? i agree it makes no sense to move Chivas USA, assuming he would buy them out, out of LA. just needs to be re-branded and moved away from the Galaxy.

    • bottlcaps says:

      There was a report in one of the UK papers that silent Stan want to bring a new MLS franchise to LA and name it the LA Gunners.

      The other rumor is that Kroenke is bring the St. Louis Rams back to LA.

      This all started when one of Krenke Real Estate development company bought 60 acres of land in Inglewood, Ca., not far from Santa Anita/Forum area.

      Kroenke is first and foremost a real estate developer, but now because he is part owner of an NFL team as well as an MLS and EPL team owner, any move he makes, reflects back to the sports world, even if it has nothing to do with his sports empire.

  5. eyesopen says:

    I don’t know that Miami is a slam dunk for an MLS Team.

    Although I am a big fan of MLS and think the League is vastly underrated (FIFA ranks MLS as the 49th best League in the world – gimme a break), the huge number of soccer fans in the area don’t automatically translate to MLS fans. Miami has shown it will support the World Cup, local friendlies featuring Major international teams and various soccer events that is not the same as supporting a MLS team week in and week out.

    Also, unlike Orlando City, the drive to bring a team to the area has come from the top down not from the bottom up. Beckham may have star power on the field, and he may be able to attract investiment, how much that translates to season ticket holder is a real question.

    Another item that is a concern is the lack of a Stadium solution. Take it from a DC United fan how much that has held back the team from prospering. The situation where the previous Miami Fusion team could not find a location and moved Ft. Lauderdate and were eventually contracted is a strong warning about what needs to go right for the team to succeed.

    As for the current Ft Lauderdale Strikers, I don’t see how they are really a rival or that this will improve their economic lot. I don’t agree. If Miami takes off, the Strikers will be very hard pressed to survive as fans, quality of play, coverage and sponsors will gravitate south. The rivalry is strickly from the perspective of Ft Lauterdale.

    • sir coble says:

      All good points. My only comment concerning this “rivalry” is perhaps Ft. Strikers are looking at this with two eyes on the future. If the Strikers continue to lose fans and revenue at some point Beckham and company may take them under the wing as a direct feeder team. Didn’t La do something like this just a few weeks ago?

    • Increase0 says:

      49th? I would say around 8-10ish. Its like the big 5 in Europe then… Mexico.. Portugal has like 3 teams.. I would say Russia is about the same as the MLS.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      I think if you read older posts on the Miami MLS team over the last couple days you find many posts to address your concerns.

      I’ll give you an example…my Brazilian boss who lives in NE Dade and is a hard core Flamengo fan asked me when season tickets are going on sale. That question shows that a guy who has never watched MLS is already to support the local team of his adopted home (he’s recently become a citizen of the US) without any knowledge of who will be playing. He is specifically mentioned the proposed stadium at the port being a great idea and being excited about that. This guy has never gone to any International preseason tourney or any friendlies not involving Brazil. So there’s a guy that’s not even possible to account for who is skied about this.

      And why? This is not a 2nd division team and Beckham has brought it to the front pages of the local press. It will be up to the team and MLS to field a good product to keep a guy like this in the seats. As now they are doing everything right. They have a few years to stoke the fire. However time could be a curse as much as a blessing though. it will be a challenge to keep everyone’s attention. but right now I’m giving this an A even if it may be being built from the top down – it’s not an unfamiliar guy in suit. It’s Becks.

  6. nasl to el paso tx says:

    As for future Dps, sure MLS should elevate the Dp number but its so obvious that the east conference is going to have DPs fron left to right.
    In the east you have, tfc, RB,nycfc, miami, orlando with Dps. Then what if chicago, dc, montreal step up and get top talent Dps and that would make the east conference a scary one.
    As for the west, you only have galaxy and sounders, given that timbers, caps and the rest wont open their wallets :-( and the west will suck in the future.
    Also, east will have better stadiums than the west and money :-)

    • Brett Bates says:

      lets not start the East vs. West conversation… Ok you got me. Once Miami is added to the league then SKC and Houston will move to the West. SKC is profitable and motivated to spend. Along with that, you are assuming that San Jose (a market of 7+ million people) will not be willing to spend, but yet you assume that Chicago will spend. Chicago is not a well run team, they have a ok/bad stadium and it is not convenient to their target market. Additionally, DC doesn’t have their own stadium and thus can’t control their income and profit line. I will give you this, Montreal and NYCFC are going to be big spenders and RBNY/TFC will try to keep up. Orlando on the other hand, I don’t see them being big spenders. Their market is small and I can see them being Miami’s little brother in MLS. That last part about Orlando is just an guess. Either way, got to give the East credit, they won every trophy last season. It will be interesting to see if the West can rebound this season or if they will continue to fall behind the East.

  7. Jahinho_Guerro says:

    I think it is good for the strikers….however they have to be ready to invest heavily not only in soccer but the community – which in this current state, to my understanding they are not doing.

    I think first two steps is:

    Establishing an academy system, and Second continue with the city to revitalize Lockhart Stadium

  8. dimidri says:

    Lebron would be a great get unless he leaves the heat this summer on bad terms…with at least two championships tho that seems unlikely

  9. TomG says:

    Agudelo starting today. Let’s hope he bags a brace.

  10. JunkFoodTaster says:

    I could see a hybrid DP system, 3 unlimited, 1 2-milion or less, 1 1-million or less. Three big names two high quality players. It improves the quality.

    • go euro or go home says:

      I think an ideal scenario is a 50/50 split between young developing homegrown academy players and top notch high dollar dps. So, that would call for 5 dps…

  11. Carlos Danger says:

    We better get ready for a bunch of new misterious rules that happen to benefit teams in Florida with famous owners whose initials are DB.
    Of course these rules will apply to everybody equally as long as you meet the requirements.

  12. Jee says:

    Rivalry? How a major league team and a minor league team be a rivalry? NASL is full of delusional guys.

  13. David says:

    Isn’t Lebron James a minority owner of Liverpool FC? I thought I read that he had taken a stake in the club when the Fenway group took over. Does anybody else know for sure? Adding his name to the ownership group will generate a bit of media coverage, but doesn’t put people in seats over the long term. As for a rivalry with the Strikers, they aren’t in the same league so other than Open Cup meetings and a few friendlies how is that going to happen? They could serve as a place to park players on loan though.

    I’m all for Miami being a successful addition to the league. I’m not convinced that MLS has to expand beyond 22 to be a top league at some point in the future though.

  14. Adam M. says:

    Rather than increase the number of DPs, the DP rule should be adjusted so it does not impact the salary cap. In other words, teams would get a cap pass on their three highest-paid players. That would free up $1 million in cap space without changing the basic economics and without giving teams more opportunity to potentially make big-money mistakes. With NYCFC, Orlando and Miami all in the works, that is potentially 9 new top-quality “DP” slots to fill in the next 2-4ish years, and that’s before you talk about current LA and NY DPs retiring (or the rest of the league at all). That seems like plenty of opportunity for the league to sign up big name talent.

    • Juest says:

      Why not just raise the salary cap $1 M so that the average-spending teams can get better players (and pay their current players decently), too?

  15. Chris says:

    The Ft. Lauderdale Strikers seem like a perfect club for Beckham’s team to partner with to develop young players. No need to be competitive.

    • jonk says:

      That would be a good idea if the Strikers were a USL club, but the NASL currently has no interest in filling that role…they have grander delusions…err, I mean, grander ideas.