Published On: Thu, Oct 31st, 2013

David Beckham Makes His Decision, Will Take MLS Franchise to South Beach

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The 2-time MLS Cup Champion analysed every possible city and has finally decided on Miami as the city to start his own MLS franchise.

By: Pedro Heizer

Former Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham has officially decided on Miami as the city for his Major League Soccer franchise, according to sources.

Beckham, whose MLS contract had the option of paying a discounted rate of $25 million to start an MLS expansion team, has been flirting with a few possible cities during the past few months but has officially decided in Miami.

Although nothing is set in stone, a source close to the situation has indicated that the decision by Beckham to bring MLS to Miami is “just about official” and now will only need to iron out the details with MLS.

Beckham has a long way to go before his MLS Miami franchise can kickoff, but the first step is completed. Beckham now needs investors.

In June, Beckham was seen with billionaire Marcelo Claure, the Miami-based founder of Brightstar Corp., as he toured Sun Life Stadium and FIU Stadium, and sat courtside with him at a Heat playoff game.

Since then, Beckham has had subsequent meetings with him in Japan and Los Angeles.

Aside from Claure, Beckham will most likely bring in more investors into the mix. Miami Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross has shown interested in bringing MLS to Miami; however another name being thrown in as a possibility is Italian, Alessandro Butini.

After the AP broke the news of Beckham’s decision, MLS Executive Vice President, Dan Courtemanche released the following statement:

“We know that Miami is one of the most passionate soccer markets in North America. We have met with David Beckham regarding ownership of an expansion team, and we look forward to David one day owning an MLS club.”

Upon the news of Beckham’s decision, a supporter group who has been on hiatus, The Southern Legion, has already been reborn.

Despite the Miami Herald’s report that Beckham’s decision is premature and not final, 90 Minutes Strong has spoken to reliable sources who assure the decision is firm and MLS Miami supporters should expect an announcement from Beckham by the end of November.

There are currently 19 MLS teams, and league commissioner Don Garber hopes to expand to 24 teams by the 2020 season. A 20th team is already in place to begin playing in 2015 after Premier League club Manchester City and its partner, the New York Yankees, paid an expansion fee of $100 million to launch New York City FC.

Orlando City Soccer is on the verge of becoming expansion team number 21, leaving three spots left.

One of the main reasons for the long wait is that Beckham is looking to raise several hundred million dollars of investment to fund the setup costs, including putting together the squad of players and building a stadium.

The main sites being talked about as potential temporary stadiums for Beckham’s MLS franchise are Sun Life Stadium, and FIU Stadium in Miami (both of which he and Claure toured in June). There were reports earlier this week that Beckham is also considering Marlins Park as a temporary home, but if Beckham does go into business with Claure (who is on the FIU Board of Trustees), his MLS team will be able to play rent-free at FIU Stadium while their permanent soccer-specific stadium is being built.

brought to you by: 90 Minutes Strong

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