On Wednesday, Major League Soccer announced, David Beckham, the highest wattage star in the league’s history, is the proud new owner of an MLS expansion franchise that’s headed for Miami. The former L.A. Galaxy star, and global icon, had long been rumored to be destined for the owner’s box after he came to the league in 2007 with a clause in his contract giving him the option to purchase a franchise for a cut-rate $25 million.
All indications point to Beckham, who retired from the sport last year, landing in Miami with the new franchise, but the move is contingent on working out a stadium deal for the club. And that may be easier said than done, according to the Miami Herald. “A stadium at the seaport —or anywhere else —is hardly a done deal. Local politicians still feel burned by the Miami Marlins, whose Little Havana ballpark received public financing so generous that it partly got a former Miami-Dade County mayor ousted from office,” the Herald reports.
If the stadium deal can be hammered out, Miami as a sports market is also far from a sure thing. Miami was home to an MLS franchise, the Miami Fusion, but it folded in 2002. “Even with Beckham’s star power,” the Herald reports, “a new team in Miami remains risky. Fans here are notoriously flaky. Before LeBron James arrived in 2010, not even the National Basketball Association champion Miami Heat sold out all its games.”