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MLS expansion deal good as done: Major League Soccer about to announce Miami as franchise No. 22

Feb 3, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT

Brand Beckham and his wealthy investors intend to make soccer a success in South Florida. Getty Images

If there is a worse kept secret around Major League Soccer, someone will have to point it out to us. At this point, it’s only a surprise if Major League Soccer does not announce Miami expansion on Wednesday.

Here’s the latest as Major League Soccer aggressive expansion push continues, as as the league dives into South Florida for a second go-round: (An under-funded Miami team, playing up the road in in Fort Lauderdale, came and went in MLS more than a decade back.)

The Miami Herald reported Monday that Beckham has exercised his heavily discounted MLS expansion option, which was always a centerpiece in this deal. This isn’t really newsy news, just more of a technical point, but an important one, that this thing has been legally consummated. The deal does, according to the Herald’s story, remain contingent on Beckham and his ownership group finalizing plans on a privately-funded stadium.

Some good reporting in the Herald story details on Beckham’s plans around Miami this week, Tuesday receptions with Miami city leaders, a planned press conference for Wednesday morning, etc.

And now pretty much everyone is reporting that Beckham will take part in the press conference, which MLS commissioner Don Garber will also attend.

So, is there any mystery left here?

Besides, we’ve been talking about this thing since December. No, wait, check that … since October! No, wait … for darn near a year now.

According to the Miami Herald story, negotiations are ongoing for potential stadium sites for a 25,000-seat stadium, including splashy waterfront lot at PortMiami.

Beckham and his group of investors will pay just $25 million for the franchise; that rate was worked into Beckham’s original agreement with league back in 2007. And it’s quite a discount considering New York City FC’s group paid $100 million to join up just last summer. It cost Montreal owners $40 million to come aboard three years ago, and Columbus Crew (a much smaller, less glamorous market) changed hands for a reported $60 million last summer.

This will be franchise No. 22 – a little weird considering Major League Soccer is about to launch its 19th season with 19 teams. New York City FC and the Orlando City Lions are signed up to come aboard in 2015.

This report says the team could begin passing and trapping in MLS as early as 2016, while others have indicated 2017 would be the start date. Given the history of Major League Soccer grounds and the hoops that must be jumped to get these facilities off the ground, put your money on the back half of that window.

  1. nickp91 - Feb 3, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    successful venture into the Florida market for MLS.

  2. danielofthedale - Feb 3, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    We all knew this was coming, but congrats to the fans in Miami on getting the team officially! And don’t listen to those that say your city will not support the team. I can’t wait to make the trip down from Atlanta for some MLS games.

  3. jimmycrackcorn99 - Feb 3, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    Anxious to see if the “build it and they will come” will function here. $25 million is a steal.

    • mvktr2 - Feb 4, 2014 at 2:56 AM

      I gave you a thumbs up as I feel the same way. However I’m very much on the fence as to wether I’m anxious as in excited that Becks has billionaire partners, plans for a nice 25K stadium, and the glitz of Miami beach to draw more worldly talent to MLS. Or am I anxious that there is no solid stadium plan in place and that Miami is a tough sports draw.

  4. dhalb34 - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    Miami sports fans don’t even sell out Heat games. Did you see all the empty seats at the OKC vs Mia matchup last week?!? What makes you think they will sell out a third of their home games? Miami is like LA, there are too many other things to do in those cities then to go to a sporting event.

    • bear06 - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:33 PM

      To be fair LA fans support their teams a lot more than Miami sports fans.

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