clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Miami finally gets MLS expansion team led by David Beckham

Four years after talks started, Beckham’s team is now a reality.

MLS: MLS-Press Conference Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

MLS and David Beckham started talking about putting an expansion team in Miami all the way back in 2013, when Beckham retired from soccer. It’s taken several years of negotiations with the league, potential partners, and local government, but the league finally announced on Monday that Miami has been granted an MLS expansion franchise. The team is currently using the placeholder name Fútbol Miami MLS, but will get rolling on its real branding shortly.

When Beckham signed for the LA Galaxy in 2007, he negotiated a brilliant deal — the option to purchase an MLS expansion franchise for $25 million. At the time, it looked like a minor discount, with teams going for $40 million. But with the price having ballooned to $150 million, Beckham’s getting a steal.

Beckham has been working with his business partner Simon Fuller, experienced American sports executive Tim Leiweke, and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure on getting the team set up for quite some time. In December, MLS approved their partners who got the deal across the line — Miami businessmen Jorge and Jose Mas, and Japanese businessman Masayoshi Son.

This will be MLS’s second attempt at getting a Miami team off the ground. The Miami Fusion were one of the league’s first expansion teams in 1998, but they folded in 2002. Poor ticket sales at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale were cited as the main reason the team failed.

With that in mind, the biggest hurdle to getting the second Miami MLS team off the ground has been securing a stadium deal in a location desirable for the team and league. In June, Miami-Dade county approved the sale of land in the Overtown neighborhood for a soccer stadium. The stadium deal and its location have drawn significant criticism from community leaders, but as is the case in most of these situations, it appears that local residents who will be most aversely affected by the stadium’s construction can do very little to stop it.

Beckham and co. now face a number of hurdles to make their club a success. They’re going to have to put a sporting structure in place while working to convince soccer fans that the club is worth their time and money, as well as a valuable part of their community. With four years of hype behind them, they’ll be under serious pressure to become one of MLS’s leading clubs.