It’s been a four-year quest for David Beckham to land his own MLS squad, but today the dream became reality when he and the league announced plans for a new Miami expansion team launching in 2020.
Officially the 25th MLS team, the Beckham endeavor — backed by prominent local businessmen Jorge and Jose Mas, as well as American Idol founder Simon Fuller, SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure — comes after several false starts in a search for a stadium site. After being rejected on several waterfront sites, the Beckham team settled on a six-acre site in the city’s Overtown area for a new 25,000-seat, $225-million stadium. If all goes well, we could see a 2020 launch of the team in a temporary venue and a new stadium opening in 2021, with Miami joining Nashville. Populous will design the new stadium.
“These are the days that really warm our hearts and make us so proud,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber at a jammed unveiling today at the Adrienne Arsht Center. “They say great things come to those who wait, and I know all of you here in Miami — not just the folks that have been putting this all together — but our fans who send me emails for 10 years to all of our city leaders to everyone who loves and believes in the sport and our league, we thank you for waiting patiently for this day.”
The announcement is not the final word on the new Miami team. Final governmental approval of the Overtown stadium site will be required, and there’s still the threat of continuing legal action from Bruce Matheson, who is arguing the land for the stadium was sold below fair market value and should have been subjected to a bid process. He lost the first round when his lawsuit was dismissed, but there’s talk of an appeal.
Beckham received the right to buy into MLS at a huge discount when he signed with L.A. Galaxy in his playing days. This is the second attempt at a MLS team in Miami: the Miami Fusion launched in 1998 but was out of business by 2001.
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