MIAMI >> David Beckham’s plan to bring Major League Soccer back to South Florida is on the cusp of becoming reality.
Beckham and his partners are planning a Monday event to formally announce Miami’s new MLS team, as well as its name and logo, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press today. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither Beckham’s group nor MLS officials had announced the plans publicly.
A spokesman for Beckham did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His group has said it wants the new team to begin play in the 2020 season.
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star announced his plans to bring an MLS team to Miami four years ago. The process has been arduous since, most recently because of a lawsuit that was filed over Beckham’s $9 million purchase of a plot of land from Miami-Dade County to be used for the team’s planned 25,000-seat stadium.
A contract he signed in 2007 with the LA Galaxy gave Beckham the right to start an expansion franchise for $25 million, and in 2013 he selected Miami as the place where he would want to put a team.
It will be South Florida’s second chance to have an MLS franchise. The Miami Fusion played from 1998 through 2001 in Fort Lauderdale, about a half-hour’s drive north of Miami, and folded because of poor attendance.
When the team officially is born, Miami will become the 11th market with teams from the five biggest North American sports leagues — MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL and MLS. Toronto also has five major pro teams, with the difference being that it has a CFL franchise and not an NFL club.