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David Beckham to unveil plans for MLS franchise. Will it work in Miami?

Jul 16, 2013, 5:33 AM EDT

Becham and Claure take in a recent Miami Heat game, as the Bolivian businessman revealed when they expect Miami to enter MLS. Reuters

Just a heads up, David Beckham could be heading back to Major League Soccer.

And a long-awaited franchise in Miami could be coming with him.

This morning reports say Beckham is close to revealing his plans for a new MLS franchise.

The former LA Galaxy star shared his vision with reporters and hinted that an announcement is upcoming.

“It will be in a few months maybe but it’s important to get it right,” said Beckham. “This is a big decision where I’ll have my franchise and how I’m going to do it. It’s something I’m excited about.”

So we’re talking about Miami, right Becks?

In the past few months a huge sense of inevitability has grown over Beckham bringing MLS to MIA. He was seen touring potential venues with Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure last month (pictured with Beckham, top right) and even took in a Miami Heat game court-side and met LeBron James and various other dignitaries.

Major League Soccer itself hasn’t exactly been too coy about the plans, with many executives and Commissioner Don Garber stating on several occasions that they are “excited about what’s going on in the Southeast.”

(MORE: MLS expansion in Florida set for 2016?)

But should we be getting this excited about an MLS franchise in a city that had one before but didn’t make the most of it?

Maybe. When the Miami Fusion disbanded in 2001 after poor attendances and many other issues, people questioned whether or not South Florida was a good place for an MLS franchise. But having the team tucked away in Ft. Lauderdale was perhaps the biggest issue and was arguably its biggest downfall, yet several other factors led to the Fusion’s demise. And those doubts about soccer prospering in Miami haven’t drifted away.

However with Beckham’s bid and his comments about “getting it right” it’s just hard to see this being a failure of any sorts. If the stadium is in the right place, people will support the team and Beckham and Claure will no doubt pump millions into the franchise if it gets off the ground.

source: Getty Images

Will Beckham bring MLS to Miami and have his own “LeBron” moment?

(MORE: MLS Exec, “Multiple teams in Southeast could be very successful”)

Perhaps he has other locations earmarked other than Miami? It’s hard to think where, but they’re certainly plenty of other cities across the US that deserve a shout in the MLS expansion merry-go-round. Atlanta? Minneapolis? St. Louis? San Antonio?

Anyway, Miami still seems like the perfect option and location for Becks. The razzmatazz of the tropical paradise and the rich and the famous will see Beckham and his team slot in superbly.

And with USL Pro franchise Orlando City pushing on with their MLS expansion plans, could Florida soon become a hotbed of soccer and rival regions such as the Pacific Northwest? Hold your horses, not so fast. But it’s good to dream. And it seems as though Beckham’s plans are much more concrete than a dream as we wait with baited breath to find out where the franchise he’s backing will land.

A safe bet is that it’ll be within a stones throw of South Beach or one of the other iconic areas of that City. Expect this hype to reach a fever pitch over the coming months. Bring it on.

  1. uncleed69 - Jul 16, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    South Florida is ready for MLS! Beckham & Claure are the perfect partners.

  2. charliej11 - Jul 16, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    I just hope they get the name right….something exciting like Miami FC

    • Joe Prince-Wright - Jul 16, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      Real Miami? Sporting Miami? Deportivo Miami? Or perhaps the Miami Manatee’s…

      Scratch that last one.

  3. ftlfan - Jul 16, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    “But having the team tucked away in Ft. Lauderdale was perhaps the biggest issue and was arguably its biggest downfall”

    That’s just flat out ridiculous. The problem wasn’t being located in Fort Lauderdale, it was having a team branded as “Miami” playing in Fort Lauderdale which is a city that had(has) it’s own soccer history and tradition with the Strikers. It made about as much sense as the Baltimore Redskins or the Washington Orioles would. Talk about a slap in the face to your biggest potential customers. “You’re city and history isn’t good enough so we’re naming the team after a city 30 miles away”.

    Things may have been different if the team actually played in Miami at the OB like they originally wanted to. Miami’s pro soccer history suggests it would have still been a struggle. And it will be at FIU or Sun Life for Beckham’s supposed team. This reeks of another “to hell with it let’s do it anyway” move from MLS, following awarding NYCFC with no real stadium plan and a very difficult, if not slim to nil, chance of getting one done.

  4. bazimon - Jul 16, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Follow the lead of NYCFC.. Partner with Beck’s old club United and build Miami United Football Club.. MUFC Sun Devils..Cash in on the biggest football brand in the world! A team in Miami needs all the star power it can get. South Florida fans are known to be the most fair weather fans of all. I say this as a Miami native who now lives in Dallas.

  5. godsholytrousers - Jul 16, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    You’ve got to love billionaires and their vast stacks of cash.
    Miami could just pay fans to show up!

  6. godsholytrousers - Jul 16, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    On a serious note, the move into a large television market is VERY GOOD for business overall. Don Garber is getting ready to negotiate new television contracts and he needs to show market shares or at least “potential” market shares. This is what makes Miami and Atlanta good bets for future expansion over cities like Orlando or St. Louis (even though Orlando and St. Louis are better Soccer Cities). I think the problem is that we are expanding into ever more unbalanced schedules. We would need to move to three divisions of 8 teams to make everything work schedule wise, which would bing in some other cities to the mix. All we need is more Billionaires!

    • mvktr2 - Jul 16, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      Got to agree with a lot of what you say here. Sports financials in the US and generally worldwide is about TV money. Your last sentence is also VERY true and it’s what makes be okay with a MIAMI-Becks-Billionaire franchise … same as one backed by billionaire owners/organizations in NYC. So long as it’s done properly and there is real ernest commitment it’s almost assured of success in the long term. That said I HATE the Miami sports market in general. FICKLE fans!

      MLS is setting up fairly nicely for it’s next TV contract negotiations. IIRC 3 of 4 TV contracts are set to expire post 2014 season which of course falls on the heels of WC2014, shrewdly timed perfectly by MLS offices. Hopefully they’ll retain the foresight to make the new deals 4-year deals thus falling post 2018 WC. This isn’t going to be a ‘bonanza’ of TV money simply because MLS ratings are relatively dismal. However soccer viewership is a fast growing segment in US TV markets increasing MLS’ value simply out of supply/demand relevance. Thus the new deals if things go well and MLS negotiates properly should reflect some real growth. To this end holy trousers above makes a solid point. Pointing out increased market exposure only strengthens MLS’s bargaining position.

      The way I see it MLS faces a fist full of issues as it tries to clear the hump from survivability to long term growth/black ink financial success.
      1-Increase TV revenue
      2-Increase quality of play (depth is a big issue here)
      3-Address issues at 3 or 4 clubs whom are experience either trouble or so-so financial results. (not just CUSA but they do lead the pack)
      4-Player development – this is actually doing fairly well as the early returns of the league getting more serious about academies/PD is paying early dividends which look quite promising with the likes of Villareal, O’Neal, Fagundez, and Agudelo with more coming through the ranks. This is important on so many levels from addressing depth with the salary cap to bringing players through a style/system with a full understanding of objectives when they join the Sr. team, to increasing quality of play and bringing about financial benefits.

      • charliej11 - Jul 16, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        I like how you avoid the guys that played in college. Cute.

        I really believe the academies have done close to NOTHING for US soccer development, not a knock on US soccer, there just isn’t the money to make a difference.

        The difference is college soccer, which is booming, and it will be the difference for a LOOONG time, probably forever. Look at the talent flowing into Akron, and developed at Akron, MLS ready players…..and now the job that Porter has done in MLS.

        That is just the tip of the iceberg. Dallas, Seattle, LA and others all have ex-college coaches, who developed talent when college was smaller time. The coaches able to get to MLS are fewer now, meaning the coaching is staying in college. Sooooo many players are making splash the first year out of college, and it is NOT because they are “homegrown” players, who happen to play college ball like Yedlin.

  7. the0verheadwire - Jul 16, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Get set to lose a lot of money. Florida is a sports team death trap. How are those attendance figures for Tampa Bay Bucs, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins, Jacksonville Jaguars, not to mention the previous MLS teams.

    Too many older folks, too many NY transplants. St. Louis is a better sports town. Do you see how the Cardinals get supported? Need more places in the Southeast too. Charlotte, Atlanta, Nashville would be better from a geography standpoint.

    If I had my druthers, I’d get rid of Chivas and add a San Francisco/Oakland team.

    • charliej11 - Jul 16, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      Amazing St Louis doesn’t have a team, they have been a soccer hot bed since before I started with soccer in the 70s.

  8. footballer4ever - Jul 16, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Not to sound redundant as to what has already been said, but the name of the MLS expansion game is “television market revenue”. The league is in a great shape nowadays to pick and choose from cities wanting a franchise in their own cities, but the league needs/wants to expand the tv revenue market which makes cities who may have a well supported club in their cities less important than in previous years. Unlike the Miami Fusion which the ownership was not willing to spend more than they had to and having a Miami team in Ft. Lauderdale was harder for local residents to support and let alone miami residents to travel to. I have been a passionate football fan and attended many games, but the long travel to an improved high school Lockhart Stadium was not the most attractive /comfortable stadia to enjoy a football match under the scorching/humid south florida weather. This time a Miami MLS club must build its own weather/fan friendly stadium ala NYRB or LAG stadium or with a retractable roof , but that’s dreaming a lot. Miami is a big melting pot and there’s many football fans who can support a football club, but uniting those fans to support a local football club will take big investments /high profile players and results to catch the local fans imagination and constant support. In the end, the league is getting near to the third phase which is getting out of the teenage growing pains to become a grown up and successful football league in which the single entity shield will no longer be needed and which higher revenues is the norn. For those dreaming of a single entity format, unless our football is revered as college American Eggball is followed across the country then please don’t even bother with that anytime soon.

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