Earlier this week, an MLS official stated that Miami could join the league in 2019, potentially giving David Beckham and his group more time to finalize a new stadium.
David Beckham and his investment group have been working for about three years to finalize a stadium plan in Miami. Efforts since late 2015 have been focused on the city’s Overtown neighborhood, though financing issues prevented the group from securing a deal for a privately-financed facility in 2016.
With the MLS planning expansion over the next several years, the league is addressing the status of Miami–which was slated to join the league along with Los Angeles FC in 2018. Delays to the stadium deal have left that timeline in doubt, but MLS president deputy commissioner Mark Abbott emphasized that the league still views Miami as a priority, but noted that the city’s entry in the league could be delayed. More from the Miami Herald:
Mark Abbott, the MLS president and deputy commissioner, was answering questions about the 12 cities that this week submitted applications for expansion teams. The league will grow from 20 to 22 teams this season with the additions of Atlanta and Minnesota, and Los Angeles FC is expected to begin play in 2018 with Beckham’s proposed Miami team joining as team No. 24, possibly in 2019.
Two more teams from the 12 who applied will likely be added for the 2020 season and a 27th and 28th team would come into the league sometime after that. The markets that submitted bids this week are: Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh-Durham, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa/St. Petersburg.
Asked whether there has been any thought of skipping Miami and giving that 24th slot to another market, Abbott replied: “That is not something we’re thinking about. We’re focused on finalizing a stadium deal in Miami.”
If that scenario were to play out, the MLS would add at least one team annually for four straight seasons. Minnesota and Atlanta are joining the league this year, followed by Los Angeles, Miami, and two to-be-determined cities in 2020.
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