There has certainly been a lot of speculation around the question of whether David Beckham is really going to launch his own Major League Soccer team in South Beach.
Well the international superstar and his team got one step closer to that this past Friday when the City of Miami came to a verbal agreement for the soccer specific stadium to be built next to Marlins Park at the former Orange Bowl site. David Beckham’s group states “We firmly believe we can build a world-class stadium at that site.” The site has always been the favorite to land a pro soccer field after Beckham’s first two pushes to build a stadium on the waterfront fizzled.
According to Beckham’s group, MLS officials have been visiting the area and are supportive of building a soccer-specific stadium on the site. When talks first started about the land there had been discussion about a joint football-soccer stadium where the University of Miami football team would also play. However, those talks stalled, and now Beckham’s stadium would be soccer specific. While Beckham’s group plans to privately fund the stadium, the land is largely city owned which begs the question will taxpayers get rent in the deal? Another questions remains as to what will happen to residents in the area?
Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez expects the commission on Thursday, July 23rd to officially approve a negotiation between Beckham United and the city. And while there is still quite a few details to be worked out, it certainly seems as though the stadium is more likelier than not going to happen. In a letter last Friday, Beckham’s group released the following:
Three years, three years, 2017. That’s the idea if it all works out like we hope. I think three years is the objective because we’re creating a soccer team from scratch. We have to pick coaches, we have to involve the community, we have to pick a name, pick a jersey, we have to convince big-name players to come play for us.
The MLS has already awarded Miami the franchise, but had said they needed to start seeing some progress made on the stadium. 18 months had passed since Beckham first announced his public launch to his stadium quest. Cruise interests blocked his design attempts on Port Miami. The deadline for Beckham to exercise his option for an MLS franchise has been extended several times.
So who makes up David Beckham’s ownership team? The two other big names on Beckham’s ownership team are Marcelo Claure and Simon Fuller. Marcelo is Bolivian and is the current CEO for the Sprint Corporation. In 2008, Marcelo bought BAISA, the entity that operates Bolivar, a soccer team in Bolivia. He also serves on FIFA’s Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility. The other partner is Simon Fuller, who is an English entrepreneur, artist manager and television producer. Simon is best known for his creation of the Idol franchise that was originated in the UK and sold to more than 100 countries including American Idol in the US. Simon and Beckham have been business partners for a while.
While there is no team name officially announced, rumors are that the “Miami Vice” or the “Miami Current” are the leading contenders. With Miami serving as the Latin American capital of the US there would certainly be a very strong fan base around the franchise. Moreover, with the face of David Beckham behind the organization, Major League Soccer certainly wants to see this franchise happen for all sorts of marketing and advertising advantages. The last obstacle is getting that final signature from the City of Miami.