David Beckham exercised a contract option and bought an expansion Major League Soccer Franchise to be located in Miami.
Beckham paid $25 million for the franchise. He was given this option in his 2007 contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Beckham, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber, and Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos A. Gimenez announced the expansion franchise at a press conference Wednesday.
“Obviously, I just want to say this is an exciting time,” Beckham said during the opening remarks.
Beckham told reporters he was excited to mold the franchise personally, and he chose the city of Miami for his expansion team.
“It’s an exciting time for myself and partners, and something that we are really looking forward to bringing to Miami.”
The city was previously home to an MLS franchise, the Miami Fusion, from 1998 to 2001 before it folded.
No updates on a potential stadium site were given at the press conference, but Beckham mentioned the stadium will be completely privately funded.
“We will fund the stadium ourselves,” Beckham said, drawing cheers from the crowd. Beckham did say it will be located downtown.
MLS commissioner Don Garber praised Beckham as a future owner, saying how he has influenced the league for the better since signing as a player for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007. Beckham was the impetus for the “Designated Player” rule, which made it easier for MLS franchises to sign international players with the league’s tight salary cap.
After Beckham’s arrival, international superstars such as Thierry Henry, Robby Keane, Jermaine Defoe, and Tim Cahill have joined MLS franchises.
“What a historic day for MLS and soccer in North America. This is the first time in the modern era that an ex-athlete is joining the ranks of ownership,” Garber said at the press conference.
“Beckham has had an incredible impact in our sport and our country. We have no doubt it will be a very successful franchise.”
Throughout the press conference Beckham cited bringing world-class players and coaches to Miami, like the National Basketball Association’s Miami Heat, will draw fans and make the franchise viable.
No mention of the two other professional sports franchises in Miami, the Miami Marlins and the Florida Panthers, was made. The teams ranked 29th and 27th in their respective leagues in attendance in 2013.
“World’s most popular sport is coming to the world’s hottest city,” Miami mayor Carlos Gimenez said in his remarks.
Gimenez mentioned five county commissioners were in attendance at the press conference, showing the city’s political commitment to the MLS franchise.
“Today professional soccer is a reality in Miami.”
Homepage Photo from Getty Images
By INSIDER’s Aaron Bauer
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