We have known for months that David Beckham was going to put a Major Soccer League franchise in Miami, but MLS made the decision official today.
When Beckham joined MLS and the LA Galaxy his contract with the league included an option for an MLS expansion team at a bargain price of $25 million. Beckham has now exercised that option although the team in Miami is conditional on a new soccer specific stadium being built in the city.
“We appreciate all that David has done as a player, an ambassador and as a global icon to help grow Major League Soccer,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “We are thrilled that he will be an owner, and we look forward to him helping us achieve our goal of being one of the top soccer leagues in the world.”
Beckham’s ownership group includes his business partner and long-time friend Simon Fuller and Bolivian wireless telecommunications tycoon Marcelo Claure, but the remainder of the ownership group will be finalized over the next several months.
“There’s going to be a few bumps along the way, but we’re going to make the team in Miami not just the best team in America,” Beckham said in brief remarks to on Wednesday, “we’re going to take the team global.”
In a statement issued with the announcement Beckham added:
“From the beginning of my career in England to today in Miami, my journey has always been driven by my incredible passion for the game.
“Miami is a vibrant, diverse community that thrives on the same type of energy that fuels the international appeal of soccer, and I look forward to a dedicated, long-term partnership with this dynamic city and Major League Soccer. My experience with the Galaxy is what convinced me that I wanted to one day own an MLS team and it is thrilling to now see that dream coming true.”
Beckham’s attachment to MLS and the Miami franchise will bring mainstream media attention to the team and league but will that be enough? Miami is a notorious difficult market, just ask the Dolphins and Marlins.
The two other recent expansion franchises in NY and Orlando both have either the strong backing of an existing soccer club or currently have a fan base and team in place. Beckham has neither, and that has to worry MLS as recent history has shown that the successful expansion teams need more in place than a charismatic owner.
What do you think about David Beckham and a Miami franchise. Will it be successful?