Beckham lines up long shot: founding a Miami soccer team

Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:57pm EST
 
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By David Adams and Kevin Gray

MIAMI (Reuters) - From his tattoos to his finely chiseled physique and Armani underwear ads, soccer icon David Beckham oozes Miami-style sex appeal.

Blending charisma with a smart business plan, Beckham intends to launch his own professional soccer team in Miami, a multicultural market that has defied major league owners twice before. But Beckham is known for making long shots.

Expectation is high that the former captain of the England team, who retired as a player in May, will exercise a $25 million option in his Major League Soccer (MLS) player contract to start a new team later this year and base it in Miami.

The league has confirmed it is in discussions with Beckham but is awaiting a formal bid, including details of the city, the ownership group, and a stadium plan, which is expected before the end of the year.

A source close to the negotiations described a financial plan that is well advanced if incomplete.

Beckham declined requests for an interview, but he has been touring Miami and recently said the city was ripe for a new soccer team.

Finding the right location for a stadium and financing is not easy in Miami. Taxpayers have soured on publicly financed stadium deals after a $500 million baseball stadium with a retractable roof for the Miami Marlins failed to draw fans.

The state legislature rebuffed the Miami Dolphins' request for public funding of a $350 million renovation of its privately owned American football stadium.   Continued...

 
Former England soccer icon David Beckham watches the international rugby union match between England and Argentina at Twickenham in London November 9, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth