MLS announcement expected today
Miami is making room for one more sports team. David Beckham and major league soccer are coming to Miami
MIAMI – Miami is making room for one more sports team. David Beckham and major league soccer are coming to Miami. But where will the team call home?
On Tuesday night, Beckham made his first public push to bring a new team to Miami, with an invitation-only party for business executives and community leaders.
"I believe that MLS is trying to get to know the people in this community and introduce themselves to the some of the people who have the power to make some decisions," said Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
Team Beckham and Major League Soccer execs plan a more public splash Wednesday morning, though Local 10 has learned that it will happen without a signed location deal with Miami-Dade County.
Beckham's first choice for a 25,000 seat stadium is a county waterfront parcel at the port. That poses concerns with some commissioners that may be hard to get over.
"It is a very exciting time for myself and exciting time to be welcomed into a city like this," said Beckham. "Tomorrow is going to be a good day."
Beckham said he is very comfortable in Miami and feels "at home already."
"It's a special place. I am looking forward to spending a lot more time here," Beckham said. "It is very lovely to be welcomed by so many people and so many people want to help with the whole project. It was a really lovely evening."
When asked why Miami and why he thinks it will be a great atmosphere for the soccer team, Beckham said he saw the feeling and the atmosphere around the city while being in Miami for the Miami Heat playoffs.
"I saw the passion for the people for sport...the passion that the American public have for sport in general," said Beckham. "I am really looking forward to the announcement tomorrow. It's an exciting time obviously, hopefully, for the MLS and myself and obviously, and being welcomed to Miami like I've been welcomed is unbelievable. Thank you to everybody."
Though no public money will pay to build the stadium, there will be public land rental terms, and at the state level -- will the team be eligible for a sales tax subsidy like other franchises? Miami business leaders among private soccer investors.
Could the Heat's Lebron James be in?
"I'm happy to have a really good relationship with Beckham and other guys that are a part of it, so we'll see what happens," James said.
At Tuesday's invitation-only party at the Arsht Center, where Beckham and his group drummed up support for the team, there were other big names and star athletes.
Former Miami Heat player Alonzo Mourning said he was enthusiastic about the prospect of a major league soccer team. But he'll leave any financing of the project to others.
"No, I wouldn't be interested in partnering, but I'll definitely buy a season tickets," Mourning said.
"I've seen the feeling (in Miami)," Beckham said. "I've seen the atmosphere around the city, especially being here for playoffs last year for the Heat, and I saw the passion of the people for the sport. Being welcomed into Miami is an unbelievable honor, so thank you to everybody."