Major League Soccer made it official Wednesday: David Beckham will get an expansion franchise, and its home will be Miami — if Beckham’s investors score a new stadium.
“This is the first time in the modern era that an ex-athlete is joining the ranks of ownership,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said at a news conference.
To politicians, he promised: “If we can get this project over the goal line, we will be great, great partners.”
A new team would begin to play in 2017, or possibly 2016. Beckham, who retired from the LA Galaxy, exercised an option in his contract to purchase a franchise for a below-market $25 million.
His investors include his manager and business partner, Simon Fuller, and Miami-based billionaire Marcelo Claure of the global wireless distribution firm Brightstar Corp.
Beckham said he thinks soccer can succeed here. “I wanted to create a team that we could start from scratch,” he said. “I know this city is ready for football —soccer —this time around.”
His announcement, as well as an invitation-only reception Tuesday night, drew politicians, movers and shakers, and serious MLS fans who have been campaigning for a professional team since the demise of the Miami Fusion in 2002.