David Beckham continues to target Miami for an expansion Major League Soccer team, and talks with investors are “looking very promising,” according to two sources close to the negotiations. But nothing is final, according to a Beckham spokesman and MLS sources.
“We are not ready to announce anything yet, but Miami remains a strong option for us,” said a statement from Beckham’s management group. An Associated Press report out of London on Tuesday saying Beckham had chosen Miami for his MLS team sent local fans and media into a frenzy. But the celebrations were premature.
Beckham is still in the process of lining up investors and raising a couple hundred million dollars to fund a soccer-specific stadium.
He has been approached by potential investors from all over the world about partnering on an MLS team, and Miami is the intended market because of its global appeal, passion for soccer, and its location as the gateway to Latin America. Many European and South American fans and players vacation in Miami, making it an attractive market for MLS expansion.
South Florida had an MLS team, the Miami Fusion, from 1998 to 2001, but the team played at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale and folded because it wasn’t making enough money.
Beckham is taking his time selecting partners because “he has a long-term vision of what a football club should be, and he wants to make sure he gets the right partners,” one source said. He believes high-caliber foreign players could be lured to MLS with a Miami team.
Billionaire Marcelo Claure, the Miami-based founder of Brightstar Corp., is among the potential partners with whom Beckham has had talks.
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