The moment South Florida soccer fans have been waiting for will take place at noon Monday with the official launch of David Beckham’s Miami Major League Soccer team. The ceremony is being held at the Adrienne Arsht Center, which makes sense, considering how much drama the soccer icon’s MLS bid has encountered over the past four years.
Beckham, who was already in town Friday posting beachside images on social media, is scheduled to be there, along with his ownership-group partners — Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, MasTec Chairman and co-founder Jorge Mas, MasTec CEO Jose R. Mas, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, and Simon Fuller, entertainment entrepreneur and creator of American Idol.
Among the other dignitaries who will be on hand are MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. The event, being billed as a “high energy event celebrating the future of soccer in Miami” will be emceed by Univision’s Ramses Sandoval and live-streamed globally on MLSSoccer.com
A limited number of free tickets (believed to be around 750) are available to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis at www.FutbolMiamiMLS.com The official invitation to the event says “Futbol Miami” but team officials said that is just a temporary name being used for this event and is not the name of the team — which has not yet been revealed.
Among the names that have been floating around: Miami United, AC Miami and Inter Miami.
More than 300 media members are expected for the long-awaited announcement.
The last time Beckham, Garber and Gimenez were in Miami for a public event was February 2014, when Beckham first announced he was pursuing an MLS franchise in the city. That press conference, hosted at the Perez Art Museum Miami, drew international media attention. At that time, Beckham’s group was hoping to sign a stadium deal with the county-owned Port Miami.
But some key members of the cruise industry blocked that proposal, leading to another failed waterfront bid for a stadium at the boat slip next to AmericanAirlines Arena. Plan C was adjacent to Marlins Park in Little Havana, but that didn’t work out, either. So, Beckham’s group settled on an Overtown site a few blocks from the Miami River, at the intersection of Northwest Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue. The 25,000-seat, $200 million stadium would be privately financed.
Bruce Matheson, a wealthy landowner whose years-long legal battle with the Miami Open tennis tournament led to its leaving its 30-year-old Key Biscayne site in 2019 for Hard Rock Stadium, is suing to overturn the no-bid county deal for Beckham’s Overtown stadium.
Although MLS and the Beckham group remain committed to that site, Jorge and Jose Mas, Beckham’s newest partners, have been doing research and exploring the pros and cons of other sites, according to people who have spoken to them.
The Miami MLS team is scheduled to begin play in the 2020 season. If a stadium is not ready until 2021, the team would spend its first year at a temporary site.
Last month, Garber said of Miami in his annual state of the league address: “It is the most complicated situation in any market that we’ve experienced, at least in my 18 years. Part of it has been complicated by the Miami market generally. It’s a difficult sports market. The second part of that is that it’s one of the fastest-growing value markets as it relates to their real estate. Third is the political structure. There’s a variety of different mayors all for the same space.
“And, part of it is we’ve needed a local owner because we’ve seen that in at least in the success of some of those Miami teams, having a local owner has been one of the factors. I continue to say we want Miami in the league. It’s a large market. It’s a gateway city. There are a lot of values to us having a team down there and I remain confident we’ll get something done.”
Finally, it appears the day has come.