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David Beckham owning an MLS team in Miami? Yeah, that feels right.

Jun 2, 2013, 9:55 AM EDT

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A new Major League Soccer team in Miami is looking like more of a reality after David Beckham and the owner of Bolivia soccer club Bolivar, Marcelo Claure, visited stadiums and met with key political leaders on Saturday.

Beckham, whose contract with the L.A. Galaxy contained an option to create a new team for $25 million, looks poised to link up with Bolivian billionaire Claure to purchase a new MLS team. The duo toured two potential Miami-based venues for the team on Saturday.

The first stop was the 75,000 seat Sun Life stadium, home to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. The stadium has hosted several international friendlies throughout the years and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross recently set up a soccer division.

After meeting with Ross and Dolphins chief executive Mike Dee, Beckham and Claure visited the 20,000 seat stadium at Florida International University, where Claure is a member of the board of trustees and has previously lobbied the idea of housing an MLS club.

Following the visit Beckham spoke positively about the chance of owning a club in Miami. “I think bringing an MLS team here to South Florida would be… it’s exciting,” Beckham told CBS4 News television. “I think Miami fans are very passionate about their sports and very passionate about winning and of course, it would have to be success but it’s definitely exciting.”

During their visit Beckham and Claure also met with key political figures including the mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez, and Miami Dade County commissioner Jose ‘Pepe’ Diaz. Gimenez handed Beckham the keys to the city while Diaz stressed there was real backing for a team in Miami. “There is huge political support,” Diaz said. “It is not only from the county, it’s 100 percent support from the municipalities, the mayors and the commissioner, the counselors from the different cities, they are also extremely supportive.”

Beckham and Claure also met with Jose Sotolongo, the executive director of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, who pushed equally hard for MLS to return to Miami. “We know that our community can support not only the international soccer (friendlies) that have been coming to Miami for a while now, but that it would support an MLS franchise,” Sotolongo told Reuters. “The city of Miami has a very international fan base and a very soccer savvy fan base. This is the kind of ownership group that would electrify the community and hopefully we will get good news,” he said.

Becks even took time to meet with the supporters group, “MLS Miami Bid”, which has been campaigning for a team to come to the city. “I feel really good about it, it looks really positive,” said Julio Caballero, spokesman for MLS Miami Bid. “It is pretty much down to Beckham now, I have heard he will make his decision inside 90 days,” he said. “Beckham will bring something spectacular here – not just his name, but a class organisation to Miami. Claure knows how to run a club. The two together is just what Miami needs for soccer.”

While Beckham and Claure seem quite keen on Miami the pair are said to have other locations in mind as well. Stay tuned to see where they head next.

  1. jhalion - Jun 2, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Move chivas to miami, rebrand the team, and end the misery in Southern California

    • takethelongview - Jun 2, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      Beckham’s option is for an expansion team, not an existing one. Vergara can sell the club for whatever price the market will bear; that price will not be determined by Beckham’s contract. Rights to an LA franchise would be worth more than $25 million where the team is.

  2. lbroberts123 - Jun 2, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Chivas is terrible. A brand new team would have a better chance at success than Chivas has at improving and competing.

  3. metrochuck - Jun 2, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Miami is one of the worst sports towns in america don’t support the Dolphins (unless their winning) Don’t support the Panthers or the Marlins. and once Heat games aren’t the place to be seen the arena will be half empty again. “Just move to South Beach Becks work on your tan. put the team somewhere else

    • peteherrero - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:33 PM

      Having grown up in Miami, I can’t agree more about South Florida Fans. You won’t find a city with fans that are more fickle. Next to the dictionary of bandwagon, it should say Miami. When UM football was great in the 80’s, they sold out games. Once they struggled in the 90’s due to sanctions, the stadium was half empty. When the Marlins won their first World Series, the regular season games would have average attendance of less than 10,000. Once they won, the city hit the streets to celebrate as if every game was sold out. You want Dolphin season tickets, just show up to the stadium and purchase them. In most cities, there is a waiting list to purchase season tickets. Panthers had a lot of support when went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 96. Not anymore. Most soccer fans in South Florida only care about their national team and could care less about MLS. Throw in the summer heat which made it unbearable to sit through games and you have a perfect formula for failure.

  4. takethelongview - Jun 2, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    We know New York was contractually off the table for the Beckham expansion team. But what if MLS decided to contract Chivas USA rather than move it? I wonderif he would then prefer LA to Miami as home to his expansion team?

    On the other hand, if that is even possible then MLS owners would be crazy to resolve the Chivas dilemma before Beckham exercises his expansion option. Because if NY2 went for $100, it stands to reason they could frtch a similar amount for LA2.2.

    • talgrath - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      Chivas’ franchise is already purchased, Beckham’s rights are to a new franchise; unless MLS revokes the Chivas’ franchise (by buying it back) Beckham can’t get Chivas’ franchise for $25 million.

  5. takethelongview - Jun 2, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    In fact, it strikes me that it would be a shrewd business move for the collective owners to buy back chivas frim Vergara (short term pain). They could then either allow it to be purchased and moved (even for a loss) or to be contracted. Then they can sell a new expansion LA team in a few years and charge a whopping expansion fee. In the end, they would have more than they started with.

  6. talgrath - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Beckham partnering with Claure makes a lot of sense; Claure can provide the funds to help get a stadium up and pave the way for initial team set up while Beckham’s option lowers the franchise cost significantly. Beckham also brings a big name that soccer fans know and a lot of interest to a potential Miami franchise, one that would likely need to be fairly glamorous.

  7. 8man - Jun 2, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    They tried franchises in Florida with the Mutiny and the Fusion. The Fusion was a disaster and support for the Mutiny eroded to the point to where they had to fold. It’s just not a good idea.

    But if you are stuck on the idea of doing it, use the FIU facility. If you ever draw something close to 20K for a game I’d be incredulous.

  8. mazblast - Jun 3, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    South Florida has a lot of people, and it talks a good game, but the results of the various “major league” teams that have tried to take root there over the years is not encouraging. The Heat draw well right now because it’s considered cool to be seen there (for the time being), but otherwise the populace just doesn’t support their teams in person.

    Now, if MLS can guarantee a championship for Beckham’s team…

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