Miami Beckham United is continuing to pursue entry to MLS, and league commissioner Don Garber is sounding optimistic that the plan will come to fruition.
While it was not formally accepted during league meetings leading up to Wednesday’s All-Star Game, there appears to be a road map in place for Miami Beckham United’s expansion bid to be approved by the league. Los Angeles Dodgers Co-owner Todd Boehly is expected to be the club’s majority owner, while David Beckham will be among a slate of minority partners that will also include Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, producer Simon Fuller, and Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke.
Garber, for his part, says that MLS officials have time to work with the group in gaining league approval, and that things are beginning to fall into place. More from Reuters:
“We’ve got a couple of issues we needed to work out. We’ve got some time to do that. Our board said, ‘hey, we’re ready to go if you can resolve those issues’,” Garber said in an interview on Fox Sports during the broadcast of the MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid match.
“‘Take your time to do that and we hope to be in Miami in several weeks time to be able to celebrate with David and his partners.'”
Garber declined to elaborate on the remaining issues but said everything was falling into place for Beckham to win approval, mentioning the plans for a new stadium and the financial backing with partner Todd Boehly, a part-owner of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers.
In June, Miami-Dade County commissioners approved a $9 million agreement with Miami Beckham Untied that would allow the group to purchase the remaining three acres of land needed for its new stadium in Overtown. Finalizing the privately-financed stadium project is going to come with its own set of issues that must be addressed. The City of Miami must back the plan through a series of votes, while a few disputes have arisen have since Miami-Dade County approved its agreement with Beckham Miami United.
At this point, Garber is saying that he does not believe that these factors will complicate Miami’s stadium. More from The Miami Herald:
The Beckham group still must persuade the Miami City Commission to endorse its stadium plan, as well as sell it some city land sought near the two-block site at the intersection of Northwest Eighth Street and Sixth Avenue.
The Miami-Dade deal sparked instant friction with city leaders over a demand that only county police and paramedics receive lucrative off-duty shifts inside a stadium that falls under Miami’s jurisdiction. And two weeks ago, Bruce Matheson — a wealthy Miami landowner best known for legal fights with the Miami Open tennis tournament — sued to block Miami-Dade from selling Beckham the land without offering it up to other bidders.
Garber told ESPN this week the lawsuit wasn’t a concern, and Miami-Dade officials say they’re confident the Beckham group is paying market rate as allowed under Florida’s economic-development laws. At the press conference, he said Beckham’s presentation inspired confidence that Miami was on its way to becoming the league’s 24th team.
“Their plan was well received by our owners,” Garber said of Beckham and Boehly. “We believe the time is right, finally, to make Miami a great Major League Soccer city.”
The Herald also reports that Garber and a committee of owners could finalize a deal by the end of this month, allowing the full agreement to then be considered by MLS’ full slate of owners. There have been some reports indicating that MLS owners are not pleased with Beckham’s effort contractual right to buy an expansion franchise for $25 million, though Garber has previously indicated ESPN that he does not believe that this will be an issue that prevents the franchise from being established.
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