Photo by Julio Caballero
A month after retiring from soccer and David Beckham is already making strides toward his new career. Beckham is looking to own a Major League Soccer team, and it looks as if he may have his sights on Miami.
Beckham has recently visited both FIU and Sun Life Stadium as possible homes for the team. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez also gave him the keys to the county during his visit.
“I think bringing an MLS team here to South Florida would be…exciting,” Beckham said during an interview with CBS4. “I think Miami fans are very passionate about their sports and very passionate about winning and of course, it would have to be success but it’s definitely exciting.”
During his time with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Beckham’s contract gave him the option to start a new team for $25 million after retiring.
Miami isn’t the only city drawing interest to Beckham. Other cities include San Antonio, Atlanta and Orlando. Orlando currently holds a minor-league soccer team in the Orlando City, which averaged over 8,000 fans this season. Beckham also has the option to take ownership of the Galaxy, if all else fails.
After renovations in 2007, FIU stadium holds approximately 20,000 fans. While Sun Life Stadium does hold a larger crowd with over 75,000 seats, FIU Stadium is considered to be a more suitable size arena for an MLS team.
Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure, who will share in ownership of the new franchise, also joined Beckham. Claure has his ties to FIU, as he is a member of the board of trustees and has attempted bringing an MLS team to FIU. In 2009 he partnered with FC Barcelona, but with no success.
In 1998, Miami once was home to an MLS team in The Miami Fusion, though they played their home games in Fort Lauderdale.The franchise, however, struggled in the league and only lasted four seasons. The average attendance for The Fusion in its last season was 11,177.
Currently there are no East coast teams south of Washington, DC. A team in Miami though would open up the Latin American market to MLS. During the European Champions League and last two World Cups, South Florida had the highest U.S television ratings.
If all goes well and an MLS expansion is brought to Miami, don’t expect it to happen overnight. New York is set to receive a second team in 2015, so any moves to the Magic City will not happen until after that. The process of putting together an expansion team takes time and New York’s second team is already in place, while Miami still remains just an idea in the clouds.