Now that MLS has the New York City team it has long coveted, the focus of future expansion has moved almost exclusively to the Southeast. At the same time, it has been widely reported that David Beckham has the ability to purchase an expansion team for $25 million (well below current market value). Now comes news that Beckham is meeting with Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure at a Miami Heat game on Thursday.
Of course, none of this necessarily means anything. For all we know Beckham might just feel like catching some playoff basketball and talking soccer with someone who happens to also have a ton of money.
But this does seem to have at least the auspices of legs. Claure has already kicked the tires on bringing MLS to Miami in 2009 and has deep soccer roots, owning a team in Bolivia and having a seat on FIFA's Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility.
While it would seem as though Orlando would be next in line for a MLS expansion team, there's simply no way around the fact that money talks in situations like this. Claure clearly has plenty of that and Beckham offers him an easy way to jump the line. If Beckham is going to eventually buy a MLS team, putting it in Miami would seem to make the most sense as his option reportedly excludes owning a team in LA or New York.
MLS has already failed in Miami, but if it's going to work it would be probably under these kind of circumstances. They would need to have the money to build a state-of-the-art stadium, preferably in a dense population center and have the star power to demand attention in a market where patrons are easily distracted. This seems to be worth watching.