In a step forward for the effort to bring MLS to Miami, the league has approved a new ownership structure for a prospective Miami MLS expansion club.
This week, it was learned that the Miami MLS ownership group–which includes David Beckham–has undergone some significant changes. Todd Boehly was learned to be leaving the effort, while Masayoshi Son as well as brothers Jorge Mas and Jose Mas would be joining the group.
Even after this news surfaced, it remained to be seen what effect it would have on Miami Beckham United’s attempt to launch a new Miami MLS club at a proposed stadium in Overtown. On Thursday, the MLS Board of Governors gave the plan a big boost by approving the ownership group. While this does not finalize a Miami expansion club, it could ultimately put it on more certain footing, and the league could make a major announcement ahead of the 2018 season. More from The Miami Herald:
“Jorge and José Mas, Miami-based leaders of telecommunications giant MasTec and philanthropists with deep, generational ties to the South Florida community, and Japanese entrepreneur and SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son, today were approved by Major League Soccer’s Board of Governors as additional owners of Miami’s prospective MLS expansion club,” said a statement released by MLS. “A further announcement on the team is expected to be made prior to the start of the 2018 MLS regular season.”
The Miami Beckham United Group, through spokesman Tadd Schwartz, had this to say about Thursday’s development:
“Major League Soccer’s approval of our ownership group is a major step toward bringing the world’s most popular sport to one of its most cosmopolitan and diverse cities — Miami. What began as a vision shared by Marcelo Claure, David Beckham and Simon Fuller is now on its way to becoming reality with the addition of Jorge and Jose Mas and Masayoshi “Masa” Son to our ownership group.”
The combination of the newly assembled owners “brings local expertise, global perspective, an unquestionable track record of business success and one of the foremost icons in global soccer,” said the Beckham group release. “Our group will build a world-class franchise that reflects the people, values and history of the Miami community. This will be a club that Miami fans are proud to call their own. Our partners have been working tirelessly over the past month to transform a common vision and strategy into the fulfillment of today’s decision.”
After years of searching for a stadium site, Miami Beckham United’s plans for a new facility received a boost in June of this year, when Miami-Dade County officials voted to move forward with selling a parcel needed to complete a site in Overtown. However, that sale was met with a legal challenge from Bruce Matheson. Matheson, who owns property near the site, challenged the county in court by arguing that the land should have been put through a competitive bidding process. The court sided with the county’s argument that Florida economic development law allowed it to waive the competitive bidding process for a sale of public land in a transaction that provides economic benefit. Matheson is appealing the ruling, however. Additionally, the City of Miami will have to weigh in on the stadium plans by approving needed zoning changes.
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