Investigating David Beckham's Proposed MLS Franchise in Miami
It's official: David Beckham wants to open up a Major League Soccer Franchise in the city of Miami, Florida.
It will force MLS to expand should the former England captain land the requisite planning permission for a stadium, and "Miami Beckham United" will have a series of mini hurdles to clear after that.
Here, we take a look at his proposed side and analyse the plan in place, how it might work and how it may look as it comes to fruition.
Where Will the Team's Stadium Be?
David Beckham's plan to launch a Miami franchise in Major League Soccer hinges on being granted permission to build a stadium.
There'll be a series of political hoops for him to jump through before the governor will approve any sort of blueprint, and the two main questions for now are: where and when?
According to FOX Sports, Beckham wants to build in PortMiami, and he's under the assurance that he'll be allowed to go downtown.
When Will the Stadium Be Built?
After securing the first step of attaining planning permission, David Beckham and Co. will go to work on building the new stadium as soon as possible.
How long will that take? It's impossible to say. Brazil are currently working overtime to get things ready for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the best-laid plans can truly go awry here.
Beckham ruled out the use of public funding to finance the project in his press conference.
...and in the Meantime?
The Miami franchise will not wait for the stadium to be built before it enters Major League Soccer, so for the first (few?) seasons, the team will have to utilise a temporary pitch.
Marlins Park and Sun Life Stadium are the two obvious choices already standing and present in the city, and it will likely be one of those two chosen.
Who Are the Investors?
David Beckham is rich, but he's not filthy rich. He won't be able to finance all of this by himself—especially if he's rejecting public money.
There are a number of other investors involved and several more are said to be interested. FOX Sports have revealed Beckham's agent, Simon Fuller, is heavily involved in the process, while Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure has a stake too.
LeBron James has told Reuters, via GMA Network, that he's "eager" to take up a potential role.
When Did This Start?
It costs a chunk to own the right to introduce a franchise to Major League Soccer. New York City FC, who are scheduled to join the league in 2016, had to pay $100 million for the privilege of playing.
David Beckham negotiated a $25 million deal in 2007 when he joined LA Galaxy as a player—essentially an "option" to own, if you will—and has always been eager to realise that chance.
Can Miami Support a Franchise?
In David Beckham's introductory press conference on Wednesday, he answered questions regarding the selection of Miami as the chosen city with "Why not? I can't think of anywhere better."
There's no doubt he's done his due diligence here, and the former England captain has whittled an initial list of 30 locations down to five, and then one.
But Miami is littered with the bones of failed franchises; it's a notoriously hard market to ensconce. Can he do it?
Which Market Will David Beckham Hit First?
Make no mistake, this is a money-making venture for David Beckham. If he had the foresight to set up a $25-million option on owning an MLS franchise in 2007, he's already thinking about 2020 now.
Which market he hits first with advertising could be key to the club's short-term growth, and a Beckham-owned franchise has the chance to become huge in East Asia.
That said, most Englishmen would be willing to adopt Beckham's team as a second or third selection in their hearts purely due to his status in the country.
Will Miami Become the First MLS Side Advertised on UK TV?
English television, and in particular the sports channels, are chocked full of adverts—but not to the extent U.S. television is.
David Beckham appears on our screens regularly for one reason or another, be it advertising his latest aftershave/perfume or running around in H&M underwear.
Does it stand to reason, then, that Miami FC would be the first-ever MLS club to enjoy advertising time on British screens?
How Much David Beckham the Owner Impact MLS?
David Beckham the player did wonders for Major League Soccer. There were people in Europe who didn't even know the U.S. had a domestic league until he joined one of the teams.
What will be interesting to gauge throughout the process is how much of an impact David Beckham the owner can have on MLS, and whether it's comparable to his feats as a regista playmaker in the heart of L.A. Galaxy's midfield.
First Manager Calibre: Project or Established?
An important, and often significant step David Beckham will need to take when building this team is appointing a first-ever Miami FC manager.
The calibre of the manager could be a serious indicator of what this side's hallmark will be: will it be a star-studded selection, capable of hauling in the big names, or a project selection, given the chance to build his reputation in a brand new setting?
What colours will the team wear, and what will the crest be like? Will the club hold an (ill-fated) competition like New York City FC to get fans involved?
Will David Beckham use his connections to lure in an elite designated player to kick things off from a marketing perspective?
Will any of the three Beckham sons ever play for the team?
What sort of academy, and legacy, can the franchise leave?
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