MLS commissioner Don Garber (left), David Beckham and Mayor Gimenez. (AP)
In a press conference that was light on specifics and included the mayor of Miami-Dade County calling David Beckham "Mr. Beckman," the retired LA Galaxy and Manchester United star announced his long-rumored plan to bring a new MLS club to Miami. Beckham was joined by MLS commissioner Don Garber and Mayor Carlos Gimenez in making the announcement that left a lot of questions unanswered.
As part of the deal that brought Beckham to MLS as a player in 2007, he was able to become the league's first former player to become an owner for a cut-rate expansion fee of $25 million. The two clubs that will begin play in 2015, Orlando City SC and New York City FC paid expansion fees of $70 million and $100 million respectively.
The biggest cheer at the Perez Art Museum Miami came when Beckham said that his group (of which he is the managing partner) will not seek public funding for the downtown stadium that they plan to build for the new club. According to the Miami Herald, the preferred site is on one end of PortMiami, which would provide space for a 25,000-seat stadium, but also requires county approval. And that could be tricky to secure after the Miami Marlins opened a $639 million, publicly financed stadium just last year that is now known as "baseball's most expensive stadium disaster."
Where the team will play is far from the only mystery that remains with Beckham's new club. There isn't even a name for the club or a date set for when it will begin play. But instead of focusing on those matters, the reporters present for the announcement asked about what players Beckham wants (he wouldn't say), whether Sir Alex Ferguson will come out of retirement to manage his club (nope) and about his wife and kids (the crowd literally said "aww" at one point).
MLS has failed with a south Florida club before. The Miami Fusion (1998-2001) didn't last long, but they did play their home matches at a high school stadium in nearby Fort Lauderdale. So Beckham's magnetic presence and plan for a downtown stadium should provide a better draw. Assuming it becomes a reality.
Beckham charmed his way through the announcement and delighted the press and local fans, but we really don't know too much more about this plan than we did the day before. While it's exciting for MLS to have Beckham return to an active role within the league after ending his playing career in Paris, the announcement of his arrival in Miami seemed a bit premature and forced. Hopefully this isn't a sign of his nameless club becoming Miami Fusion 2.0 before it even gets up and running.
That said, betting against David Beckham is never a good idea.
- - - - - - -
- Sports & Recreation
- David Beckham
- Miami Fusion