It would appear there is more than a little something to the rumors that David Beckham is considering the possibility of using his option to purchase a MLS expansion team and putting it in Miami. Not only did the former LA Galaxy Designated Player meet with Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure about a possible partnership, but according to a Reuters report Beckham also met with city and county officials and toured two different facilities that could potentially house a team.
Miami officials were apparently quite enthusiastic about the possibility of bringing MLS back to a city and state the league abandoned following the 2001 season.
"There is huge political support. It is not only from the county, it's 100 percent support from the municipalities, the mayors and the commissioner, the counselors from the different cities, they are also extremely supportive," Miami Dade County commissioner Jose ‘Pepe' Diaz told Reuters.
Miami, of course, has a bit of a tumultuous relationship with MLS. The city was part of the league's first-ever expansion in 1998, when the Miami Fusion and Chicago Fire both entered the league. But the Fusion never actually played home games in Miami, instead calling Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium home during their entire four-year existence. The converted high school football stadium was never much a draw despite some pretty decent teams playing there. Their best average attendance came in 2001 when they averaged about 11,000 fans while winning the Supporters' Shield. The Fusion still hold the record for the worst average attendance in league history, when just averaged just 7,460 fans per game in 2000.
Early indications are that an expansion would team play in Miami, though. Beckham toured SunLife Stadium and Florida International University Stadium. SunLife is probably too big, with a capacity of about 75,000. But FIU Stadium is a perfectly sized 20,000 capacity. It's also about 13 miles outside of downtown:
One potential challenge facing any Miami team would be the NASL's Fort Lauderdale Strikers, who are now average about 4,500 fans at Lockhart Stadium and have announced their intention to build a 20,000-seat stadium in the near future.