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David Beckham has “December 31 deadline” to make MLS in Miami a reality

Nov 20, 2013, 12:52 PM EDT

David Beckham, Don Garber

Tick tock, tick tock.

You hear that Becks? Time to get a shift on fella, this MLS franchise in Miami isn’t going to sort itself out you know?

Well, in case you missed it on Tuesday, massive news came elsewhere on the soccer scene in Florida as Orlando City became Major League Soccer’s 21st franchise.

In Orlando to celebrate with the ownership and fans of MLS’ newest club was Commissioner Don Garber, who spoke out about a franchise in Miami becoming a direct rival for Orlando. After that, the Sun Sentinel claims that Beckham has until the end of this year to get his franchise signed and sealed under the terms of the clause he had in his original MLS contract.

Um, that’s news to us, right guys? That interesting tidbits of news on Beckham’s proposed ownership of a new franchise in Miami would make sense as to why Goldenballs is in a rush and wants to get LeBron James on board. The global superstar only has until December 31, 2013 to get everything done and dusted to make his cut price expansion franchise, costing just $25 million, a realty under the terms he set out when he signed with LA Galaxy and MLS back in 2007.

(MORE Orlando City SC confirms they will be next MLS franchise)

As for the Commish, Garber is hopeful a soccer franchise in Miami would work out.

source: Getty Images

David Beckham is trying to get LeBron James on board with his proposed MLS franchise in Miami… will it come together before January 1?

“We have been working hard. I was in Miami Friday and Saturday and met with the mayor during that meeting. There is a lot of momentum in that city,” Garber said. “He’s [Beckham] been out meeting with partners, a couple of celebrity partners. The ownership group is coming together. They have been working to find a location for a soccer-specific stadium. If those pieces come together the way we all hope they will, then we could have a team in the next number of years in Miami, but there is still a lot of work to do on all those fronts.”

Tick tock, tick tock.

So, are we really going to see two MLS teams added to Florida in just over a month? It looks that way.

With Beckham meeting all the important people involved in Miami and Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure ready to spend the big bucks at Becks’ side, it seems as though he has a tight deadline to work with.

Many people are suggesting MLS teams in Florida will once again be a flop. But with the huge numbers on show during Orlando’s launch party on Tuesday and the massive amounts of cash and celebrity status of Beckham’s side in Miami, it seems as though Florida plan to do it big this time round.

They just need to get a shift on. Tick tock, tick tock.

  1. danielofthedale - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    That is not a lot of time to put a franchise together. Seems like it would mean a very rushed due diligence process and that could spell disaster for Becks, Miami, and MLS. I know it was in the contract but I think if MLS believes in Miami as a MLS city then relaxing that deadline a bit might be the best idea for all involved. Bit to take the time and get it done right than rush into a bad situation to have an announcement by years end.

    • takethelongview - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      I don’t think they need to “put a franchise together” by the end of the year, assuming that assembling a franchise includes logistical issues like marketing, player acquisition, training, etc. All they really need to do by the end of the year is agree on the terms of the franchise contract. I can’t imagine the agreement will have the team playing earlier than 2016.

      …and if I were them I would strongly evaluate whether 2017 was even more practical. Orlando can join with a quick turnaround (14 months til training camp!) because they have an existing franchise operation and have been planning for a long time which concrete steps need to occur next. The announcement may be slightly more than a year, but the planning has been much longer. I don’t have any sense that Beckham’s group has been obsessed with nuts and bolts type planning while they are still assembling the ownership group and settling on a stadium location.

      This bid has more in common with NYCFC’s, which will have had nearly two years of planning between announcement and debut. Like Miami (but unlike Orlando), that franchise must be built from scratch…but they will draw on the experience and resources of two businesses already operating successful sports franchises. Starting play in 2016 would be a similar timetable to New York, but 2017 allows better planning and groundwork, which may be necessary since Becks and Co. will presumably lack the institutional advantages that NYCFC draws from the Yankees and ManCity. Furthermore, if they make establishing an academy and a USL-side short-term goals (2015, even) and constructing the MLS-side a longer term goal, they may prove more successful at the outset than if they try to rush to make 2016. Patience isn’t glamorous in this instance, but it certainly offers prudence.

      • danielofthedale - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:00 PM

        I agree with everything you said. A deadline for a letter of intent to MLS would make the most sense but the article never said what exactly the deadline was. And you are right on point about 2017. Gives teams more time to absorb the hit from losing players in expansion drafts, gives the team an extra year to build a stadium and I think teams 22 and 23 will come in together and I think that second team will be Atlanta and the stadium will be done in 2017.

  2. dfstell - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Of course there is some kind of deadline. MLS wouldn’t have been diligent if there wasn’t.

    But, I also doubt that he has to have the entire thing buttoned up by that date. That’s not typically how options work in any sort of contract. He probably has until that date to give MLS a letter stating that he is exercising his option to purchase an expansion team and he probably has to give them some (all?) of the $25MM. He also might have to do things like include a business plan for the team along with things like letters from potential co-owners stating their intent to invest in the team.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the deadline. If the going rate for an MLS expansion team is ~$100MM and he can buy one for $25MM, that is 75MM reasons that those guys will work right through Christmas to get the deals done.

    • tylerbetts - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Yeah, you beat me to this, but i had the same thought. What is the deadline for? What has to be done for that deadline to be met?

      If it’s “have a complete ownership group, stadium, and everything else” we’re probably not going to hit that deadline. But, I highly doubt that’s the deadline.

      I imagine it’s more along the lines of “must notify, in writing, his intent to purchase an expansion club” by that deadline.

      I just can’t wait until the MLS Miami club is finalized, so I have an entity to hate, rather than just an idea.

      • CaliforniaRedskins - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM

        This has to be a pretty soft deadline. I agree that Beckham just has to submit something in writing and maybe put something in escrow for the deal, but MLS isn’t going to let this go by the wayside.

      • charliej11 - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:57 PM

        Hmm, not sure why MLS wouldn’t let this go by the wayside.

        $25 million for a fee, when they can get $75 million. I have 50 million reason why they do let it go by.

  3. hildezero - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Good! Thank goodness that Becks has a deadline. Since it’s Becks, I think MLS will extend the deadline a bit. Maybe three months. December 31 is not enough time.

  4. chadmoon1 - Nov 21, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    You all are assuming that there is really still much work to do to get the financing done. With a billionaire behind him, Becks will have no trouble getting the $25 mil together. Stadium deal will only take a bit of greasing of the proper authorities.

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