Top Stories

Beckham exercises option to own MLS expansion franchise in Miami

DavidBeckhamBooksigning1 (Getty)


Major League Soccer is officially returning to South Florida.

The league announced on Wednesday morning that David Beckham has exercised his option to buy into MLS as an investor-operator and that Beckham has chosen Miami to be the site of an MLS expansion franchise. Beckham and his ownership group are now tasked with working with local officials to build a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Miami.

“From the beginning of my career in England to today in Miami, my journey has always been driven by my incredible passion for the game,” Beckham said in a statement.  “Miami is a vibrant, diverse community that thrives on the same type of energy that fuels the international appeal of soccer, and I look forward to a dedicated, long-term partnership with this dynamic city and MLS.

“My experience with the Galaxy is what convinced me that I wanted to one day own an MLS team and it is thrilling to now see that dream coming true.”

It’s the first time since 2001 that MLS will be back in Miami, after the league contracted the Miami Fusion following a four-year stay. The league has in the past cited changing demographics as reasons why they believe that Miami can work as an MLS city this time around.

After announcing an expansion franchise in New York (New York City FC) in May 2013, MLS turned their gaze towards the Southeastern United States, where they are looking to gain a foothold in the region. The league approved Orlando as an expansion franchise along with NYC FC in 2015 and now is bringing soccer back to Miami by the year 2020, pending the completion of their stadium.

“We appreciate all that David has done as a player, an ambassador and as a global icon to help grow Major League Soccer,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “We are thrilled that he will be an owner, and we look forward to him helping us achieve our goal of being one of the top soccer leagues in the world.”

Beckham and his management group are currently in talks with Miami-Dade County officials to select a site for a future soccer stadium. Beckham’s group’s preferred site is a piece of county-owned land on the southwest portion of the Port of Miami.


What do you think of this news? Excited to see MLS return to Miami? Do you see Beckham’s group building a stadium at PortMiami? Do you think a soccer club in Miami can be successful in the league?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Here’s the weird thing for me about this:

    MLS has been playing up the supporters, grassroots support, and rivalries in all recent expansion efforts.

    Now we have an owner coming in who is: 1) locating the team where another one failed not 15 years ago; 2) not locating the team in a place that shows support for ANY professional sport; 3) overtly starting a team for PERSONAL reasons – that’s a great succession plan!; 4) not recognizing AT ALL any real supporters that exist where the team is to be located.

    Why not bring a couple actual supporters on stage? Why does it have to be all about Beckham? If you’re so personal, why don’t you show it by palling around a little bit with some of the salt-of-the-earth people that you claim to be?

    I’m sorry, the packing of this was very, very poor, and totally contradicts where MLS has been going. I see a sinkhole growing in Miami and the team isn’t even there yet.

  2. People should be excited about this signing everything beckham touches turns into gold. Some people have it I guess. But I like his vision of making Miami a global team and believing the key is youth academies. I’m sure this team and ownership will go a long way in pushing for more dps, and higher salary caps which will lead to better product and competitiveness in concacaf and hopefully copa libertadores. Here’s to seeing Miami playing a boca juniors, santos, or any of the great teams in south americA

  3. Soccer in Miami.. We might see a new rivalry with the owner of Arsenal trying to buy a franchise in L.A AKA L.A Gunners.. MLS is growing.

  4. Not a dumb move. Consider the following extra bonus:

    The port city has reported an increase of 3% in UK visitors, according to research from the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

    The UK is the 7th most important source market for Miami, with visitor numbers up from 285,592 in 2011 to 294,164 in 2012 (3%). (the city is also a hub for Latin America travelers)

    **** In total Miami welcomes ten million tourists every year. ****

    English tourists are the biggest spenders in the coastal city, and the amount spent has increased by 4.4% when compared to 2011.

    The average length of stay has also increased year-on-year, up from of 5.20 days in 2011 to 5.70 days in 2012.

    Miami Beach is still the preferred destination for UK holidaymakers, with 36.4% of tourists choosing to stay there when they visit, while 23.1% choose to stay in downtown Miami.

    While PortMiami is the busiest in the world, and home to 14 major cruise lines.

    • MLS teams don’t survive based on tourist stopping by for a game once a year or so.. maybe if all of these tourist watch games on tv regularly it would help but the 99% of the teams vitality is with the local residents who either support the team or ignore them

      • check out Orlando City’s concept. Huge tourist town is devoting the team to the city residents not the Disney visitors.. if they want to see a game when they are in town they have to visit the city!

    • Players will not wear jerseys and will instead cover their arms and torsos with tattoos—which will include their player number. The kit sponsor’s logo will be tattooed across the chest (with new sponsors covering the laser removal and re-inking fees).

    • I don’t care what the official name will be, I hope that everyone will continue to call them by this name. “Miami Spice” is perfect!

  5. First of all thank god MLS has parity for the cheap teams with no future and sucky owner. Basically, you galaxy, sounders, red bull, nycfc, miami,tfc, that will use their money to succeed in MLS and out of MLS.
    Then you have markets like chicago, dc, dallas,houston, denver, boston which are huge soccer markets and that are very attractive markets for any soccer player but have cheap owners.
    Next you have the quakes, union, crew,impact, whitecaps, timbers, rsl, that wont spend big and probably never.

    • Union just got some major players. Crew have a new owner. Joey Saputo and the Impact aren’t going to take it lying down like Timbers and RSL. Literally every single owner sans Chivas is stepping up their game.

  6. Also, what’s with British people’s obsession with Miami? First, George Michael shoots the “Careless Whisper” music video here and now this?

    • Have you been to England in the winter? Or heck, the summer? Good. Now have you been to Miami in the winter? That should pretty much answer your question.

      • It was tounge in cheek, just a way to reference careless whisper. And I live in miami and am from Chicago so I get why.

  7. Why is MLS determined to expand into areas that have shown they don’t support MLS? And I’m including New York in that statement.

    • MLS has never had a team playing in NYC or downtown Miami. Yes, FTL is geographically close to Miami, but it’s not Miami. Also, Fusion fan interest was on the upswing when the team was dissolved.

  8. Ronaldo is 29 now, I’m just saying, in a couple years … who knows. He may just be our first big DP signing. What a message that would send. If we can get Bradley and Defoe in Toronto, why not Ronaldo and maybe a guy like Ineista in Miami.

    • I’m usually against reenforcing the preception of MLS as a retirement league but in order to get the notorious fair weather bandwagon Miami fan to the games, something like this would have to be done. Sure, you and I are going to go regardless but how many people do you know, even in your cirlce that could’ve cared less about basketball before the Heat started winning? We have a short attention span down here, hate to say it but it’s true. We need big names to fill the stadium.

      • The whole “retirement league” narrative hinges on the age at which players decide to come over. It seems the average age of down-side Euro players coming over has dropped to about 30 (Keane (31), Defoe (31), Dempsey (30), Bradley (26). Of course, Di Vaio came at 35, but Italians seem to have a longevity unseen in other leagues/countries.

        Anway, my point is if Ronaldo chooses to come to MLS within the next 2-3 years, I think he would avoid the MLS retirement stigma. That won’t be the case if he waits until he’s 35 or 36.

    • agreed. Ronaldo just makes too much sense. and Messi goes to Miami a lot…

      Claure and his Barca ties could help persuade Messi??? can you imagine Miami opening their first season with Messi and Ronaldo. the world would have a heart attack. granted, there would be insane pressure on them and that could backfire big time.

  9. Okay, putting aside the rational arguments (and ignoring the rational rebuttal that if you want TV $$$ you have to have a national foot print) let me go with a highly irrational argument:

    It’s David Beckham. When has he ever failed? Seriously. When it was down to him – from becoming a great player, to building an international media profile and presence, to marrying a beautiful rock star, to winning at Real Madrid, to being a lightning rod for MLS? When has he ever NOT pulled something off?

    It’s going to work for a good number of reasons that have nothing to do with him, but it’s also going to work because…he’s David Beckham, and we’re not.

  10. Not really news of course but a press conference in a warm place is always nice to witness.

    Congratulations to team Beckham and MLS. Hopefully they’ll be successful in modeling the fan outreach in Seattle, Portland and Toronto. It would be nice to see a packed stadium on those mid-season games and not just the first one. I think they’ll succeed with all the knowledge and the large Latin demo Miami has.

  11. Why aren’t there more Miami fan boys posting here. Not a good sign, we just get awarded a franchise and there are only 3 of us repping S. Florida?

    • Welcome to US Soccer, it is awesome and no one knows it in numbers ( except for here in Seattle ).
      Enjoy it for yourself, not for the fact that 10s of thousands are with you….but either way do it enjoy it….congrats, I am happy for your town.

      • Yeah, it’d be awesome to get Seattle level support down here. But hey I’m going to be up in Portland next month for the home opener against the Union. I’ll get to see how it’s done first hand.

    • I’ve been waiting for this day. Representing Broward County!

      I really liked what Beckham had to say about investing in the academy. That is the secret to success. Balance the academy with some smart high profile international players and that should cover the short term and long term of the club.

      • The academy could be huge! Behind SoCal, NY/NJ and TX Flordia produces a lot of talent (notice they are they only ones w/o an MLS team too). I bet a lot of quality US and international players would come out of that..

    • I spend part of the year in Miami (but my athletic allegiance is to Pittsburgh), so I’m somewhat excited about the Miami announcement. I’ve said this in various threads about MLS expansion, so it might be repetitive, but from what I’ve seen, Miami is really into soccer…lots of bars and restaurants that show games (even inconsequential games), lots of people walking around with EPL/La Liga/etc. jerseys, lots of pick-up games, etc. I think the right sort of team, i.e. one with plenty of style, hype, and a couple big-name DPs, will do well. Maybe not Seattle-level, but at least Red Bull-level.

      • +1 I agree, we are starving for a franchise. There are Haitians, Brazilians, Argentinians, Colombians, Mexicans, Jamaicans, Europeans, Central Americans etc. who all love the game out here and maybe not right away but as the sport grows I can see people becoming big fans later on down the road.

    • Just a bunch of haters on here bro. We will see how successful this franchise will be. I am honestly expecting great things. Who cares about the Dolphins and Marlin we are talking about soccer. Dolphins haven’t won anything in years and Marlins are always trading away there best talent after achieving success. The Miami heat has one of the highest season avg. in the NBA which in itself isn’t as popular as it use to be imo but that’s an entire different convo.

      As long as the stadium is built in a decent location and the team starts off with a splash people will flock. There are a lot of bandwagon jumpers out here and they love to root for something new and exciting. Honestly I am not even a Dolphins or Marlins fan. A lot of people down here root for NY teams or Boston teams. MLS is still fairly new and some people like me are still trying to figure out what team to follow.

  12. Several thoughts from the press conference:

    1) Woooo Beckham wooo sell sell sell Garber sell sell sell (and by the way Canada Toronto FC) sell sell sell
    2) Oh my god, are you picking me for your team? Have you signed Ronaldo, Zlatan, and Messi to play and Sir Alex Ferguson to manage the team yet?
    3) Um, try not to say it but we don’t have a stadium yet, shhhhhhh

  13. Not to be a negative but considering no professional sports teams in Miami sells significant percentage of tickets, I fear this is a mistake by the MLS and David Beckham. I hope it works out but when even the Miami Heat, with the best player in the league, have to beg fans to purchase playoff tickets that is not a good sign. Also look at the “Miami Marlins” and Dolphins franchises. I do hope that people like me are proved wrong but I give this a 80% chance of being a completely lame duck franchise after the initial buzz wears off after 2 seasons for a plethora of reasons. Poor attendance, lack of appeal to a significant amount of local fans, a potentially a deluded MLS product and the weather (which is hopefully addressed in the stadium plans) . Best of luck though. DOOP!

      • Low income immigrants do not have money for professional sports. Miami-Dade has a large chunk of very low income folks. They won’t/can’t buy MLS tickets.

      • +1, one of the main reasons i got into MLS years ago; a hell lot cheaper than anyother pro sports game!

        Im sure part of the reason no one goes to Marlins games is cost. And you know that your $$ is going to sleezeballs who run that team. An MLS team in Miami that is internationally relevent and affordable to residents could be the big show in that town. Looking foward to this one.

    • It’s not a mistake but it isn’t a golazo. Miami is a big, high profile and warm weather market that will enhance the league. Support will be lacking but that’s ok with all the other positives. Really, this is all about the bling Miami & Beckham bring to the league.

      • Ha, just being realistic. Hopefully team Beckham pulls it off. I’m just saying history of professional sports in Miami dictates otherwise. Let’s not forget that by the time 2020 rolls around most kids won’t even know who David Beckham is besides a retired (great) footballer. Everyone thought Michael Jordan would do well running a NBA franchise. How’s that working out? I know Beckham surrounds himself with much more intelligent people than MJ does and is more likely to take advise but just b/c Miami is a “cool” city doesn’t make this a good idea. Much more deserving/less appealing markets out there. We’ll see. DOOP

    • but how many people watch the heat on tv from around the country/world? That is the key to the next step. Selling out the stadium would be a major plus, but the most important thing is that they field a good team with some legit stars that will make the league more compelling for tv viewers.

      • Sooo….what you’re saying is that NYRB is good for MLS (big market players, big/ fancy stadium, little to no actual attendance) – even though they’ve won only one piece of hardware in their entire existence? I’m pretty sure that “educated” football fans are going to see this for what it is and not take Miami FC serious until they win some hardware.

      • MLS would definitely not be as interesting without NYRB. And that is with a very boring style that they play. I imagine they will be even a lot more interesting when they have a crosstown rival.

    • Beckham is basically a brand and he sells!! Internationally!! Plus most of the low income immigrants in Miami have soccer background and MLS tickets are cheap. So if Miami puts a decent team out on the field and build their own stadium they should be fine.

  14. There were much better options for an expansion franchise such as Atlanta or St. Louis. The main reason there will be one in Miami is because its a nicer place for Beckham to spend significant time in. If attendance is poor, MLS and Beckham will realize they made a mistake.

    • +1, not looking forward to the congestion in that area though. Traffic can be bad even before building a stadium there. Best thing would be to take the Metro rail and walk there.

      • Did I hear correctly that there is a tunnel leading to the island? It’s hard to imagine planning a high volume facility on a island with only a single point of ingress/egress.

      • No, the port of Miami has a couple different ways to get to. you could take the Metro or the bridge. It sounds like they want to make Biscayne go underground to make congestion a little easier while adding a pedestrian walkway so you could theoritically park downtown and take the pedestiran bridge to the port. That would make three points of entrance, correct me if I’m wrong as I avoid that area when at all possible.

      • Aaahh! Now I understand why Beckham brought up the “walking to the game” thing in his remarks! Code for: please don’t try to bring your car over here!

      • Great, put a stadium in a place locals avoid. Brilliant.

        But it might be moot since there are some rumblings that the city already has development plans and won’t give up that location for a SSS.

      • Awesome! Thanks.Ya see? Miami has been getting ready for MLS for years now! (pay no attention to the cruise liners moored along the wharf)

      • +1 Good point, that may be a better option than driving. Hopefully they build the stadium at a decent location and the commute to the stadium won’t be a hassle.

      • Woohoo! Does anyone know if the Ultras will be throwing their wight behind the new club? Would be nice to have built in fan support ready to go.

      • I think Southern Legion is the supporters group. It looked like Uncle Ed was one of the guys on stage today repping Southern Legion and he was involved in the Ultras.

      • My question too, where does this leave the FL Strikers? Are they two independant fan bases and supporters groups? Or is this another instance of MLS and NASL going right at eachother?

      • Two different fan bases and the Strikers supporters group are pretty passionate about their Strikers. Though, I don’t know if individual members of the Strikiers supporters group would put their weight behind a Miami MLS franchise, I’d imagine they would as most of them are fans of MLS. I went to the combine a couple of years ago and the FL Strikers supporters group was there (saw a couple of them talking to Ives)

      • Elsewhere I’ve read Strikers fans declaring undying allegiance to their team and vowing to never set foot in the new stadium.
        Hmmm, I didn’t realize that Beckham was also announcing the abolition of the Ft Lauderdale Strikers, but then I joined the press conference toward the end.

  15. This all comes down to the stadium. If they are stuck sharing a football stadium long term or dont build a SSS in the right spot the franchise could very well just fail miserably. I don’t have a ton of faith, unless the money for the stadium is all private. I doubt the city of Miami wants to fund another tax payer stadium after being straight up swindled by the Marlins.

      • I dont have a source but the basic premise is that the owner made a bunch of promises about making the team competitive (he has long been very cheap). He went out and signed a bunch of new players the year the stadium was built and the city was pumped, then they sucked that year and he traded away anyone that was any good so they are terrible again.

      • Posting articles here can be odd but just search “marlins owner swindles city” and there is a bunch of stuff

      • The Economics of Sports Facilities and Their Communities
        Author(s): John Siegfried and Andrew Zimbalist
        Source: The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 14, No. 3, (Summer, 2000), pp. 95-114
        Published by: American Economic Association
        Stable URL:

        The gist of it is that any community that obligates it’s tax-payers to fund a MLB stadium are generally getting screwed.

      • The Marlins were crying poverty and demanding Miami pay for their new stadium. After financing was approved, the Marlins books were accidentally forwarded to a reporter who learned that the team was in reality quite profitable.

      • Public funds, that’s why the mayor said no public funds would be used. Otherwise everyone would have a bit** fit.

      • Have they talked about where the financing will come from then? Beckham has a lot of big names on his group but I dont remember seeing any mega-rich people who would be able to finance a stadium

      • From Wikipedia:
        Marcelo Claure is a Bolivian wireless industry distribution entrepreneur and founder of Brightstar Corp.
        Since its founding in 1997, Brightstar has grown into an $8 billion business with local presence in approximately 50 countries, on six continents

      • What do you mean paying for their own stadium? That stadium was financed almost entirely (if not 100%) by public funds, not by the team or the owner.

      • That’s my point. The MLS stadium is a privately financed deal so people wringing their hands over getting fleeced again should probably relax. At least until something else is announced.

      • I just misread what you were trying to say, I didn’t mean to sound like I am hand wringing. I hope the MLS does well here it is just that the stadium is critical.

      • No, I wasn’t thinking you were.
        The truth is that even many “privately financed” projects have a significant public component, like building it on city/county land or Tax Increment Financing districts. If it’s a good deal for the people then it’s not controversial.
        Wal-Mart does it all the time.

      • absolutely. look at the DCU situation. DC is paying for the stadium construction with private money. however, half the cost of the entire project (aka, not just the stadium itself) is in land-swap deals and building up infrastructure, which the city would “pay” for. it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

      • I hear you, there’s nothing easy about stadium deals in urban locations. Even if you bring your own money there’s a lot of convincing to do. I live in Houston and we went through a 3-4 year process to get it done.

    • Timing is everything. MLB f’d up a lot of shix for MLS. They came along at a time when everything was roses and money was flowing, and rammed a bunch of publicly funded $200+ million stadiums down cities throats. Now MLS is stuck with the backlash. Despite the fact that we are consciously using as little city funds as possible (roads and infrastructure) and privately financing these stadiums, we can’t even get a sniff at getting these things built.

      • SilverRey: My understanding is that even if a stadium were built entirely with private money—Paul Allen, Qatar Airways, or King Beckham dropped $1B to cover everything—it would still cost taxpayers: roads, infrastructure, police, gridlock, tax incentives, and opportunity cost of how else the land could have been used*. The estimates I’ve read (from Gregg Easterbrook and others) indicate that the tax revenue in and around stadiums does not come close to offsetting those costs.

        Admittedly, most of these analyses are based on NFL, MLB, and NBA, so maybe it’s wildly different for MLS?

        *Paul Allen, for example, only pays ~$1M/year to lease CenturyLink (including parking lot and convention center). That’s a HUGE piece of prime real estate leased for a pittance.

  16. Not really any changing demographics from 13 years ago but hey! Whatever! We still get a team, again! Let’s not screw this one up!

    • It has nothing to do with demographics…the league is much different and this is a team with an ownership (the Fusion was leage owned) and they will be playing in Miami (as opposed to a HS stadium in Ft. Lauderdale)

      • Miami FC played at FIU not the Fusion who played at Lockhart (not a HS stadium) although Miami FC also played at Tropical park which amounts to basically a HS stadium (pathetic).

        in any case this is a different horse with big guns! PR and marketing shouldn’t be the debacle it has been with Miami FC.

        I’m cautiously super excited – lol.

      • I was under the impression that Lockhart WAS once a HS football stadium that was then converted and enlarged into a bigger stadium by the time the Fusion got there. I got that off Wikipedia though so no telling the veracity of that statement.

    • Maybe, a lot of people who failed to go see the Fusion have passed away; there’s a whole new generation of fair-weather fans who have the opportunity to leave vacant seats for Becks FC

      • Your argument is invalid. Hockey and basketball fans aren’t the ones that are going to make or break a soccer franchise. Soccer is a huge presence in Atlanta. The silverbacks pack out just about every home game. It might be a small stadium (roughly 5k and expanded to 7.5k for the soccer bowl final) it is still impressive considering it is in an absolutely horrible location. Give us an MLS team in a downtown stadium and we will be the Portland of the South.

      • Sorry, but the ATL is a fair weather fan’s paradise. And yes, failed franchises and poorly supported ones matter — even if they are in other sports. It’s nice that more than 50K came out for the Gold Cup quarters last year but that is a one and done thing. There is no correlation that the city could support 15K or more fans a match. Atlanta didn’t support the Chiefs either. It is one thing to fill a 5k stadium when the tickets are cheap and the product is second division at best. I don’t think MIami is the answer, but at least Beckham is creating a buzz that the Fusion never had.

    • Probably because there are few soccer fans in the area and it’s a horrible sports town even for sports that are popular there.


Leave a Comment