Report: David Beckham, MLS Commissioner Don Garber to address Miami expansion plans next week
David Beckham will join forces with Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez next week to rally support for the area’s soccer-specific stadium, according to a report in The Miami Herald on Tuesday.
The trio are also expected to provide an update on Major League Soccer’s plans to expand to Miami for the 2017 season, according to the report.
An MLS spokesman, however, could not confirm that Garber will be in attendance for an event, which is scheduled for either Tuesday or Wednesday, according to the Herald.
The group backing Beckham’s bid for an expansion franchise in Miami was set to meet privately with Gimenez about potential stadium sites on Tuesday, as the possibility of Major League Soccer’s return to South Florida inches closer to reality.
Representatives from Beckham’s group – Miami Beckham United – were expected to run down a list of up to 30 possible sites for a soccer-specific stadium in the region, with the county-owned land at PortMiami still the group’s top choice for a stadium.
Garber said earlier this month that the league expects to make an announcement concerning the Miami expansion project in early February.
“We anticipate that there’ll be a further commitment to Miami,” Deputy Mayor Chip Iglesias said Monday during a public meeting with two county commissioners.
Beckham is the spearhead of a movement to bring MLS back to South Florida for the first time since the Fusion were contracted in 2001. Originally given a discount rate to buy an expansion franchise as part of his contract with the league as an LA Galaxy player in 2007, Beckham has zeroed in on the Sunshine State as his destination with a powerful ownership group in tow.
Garber said last month that he was optimistic about an expansion franchise in Miami, insisting that if Beckham and his group – including longtime business partner Simon Fuller and Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure – can come up with proper financial support and stadium plan, that “we could have a formula for success."
Beckham’s group has promised that the stadium will be 100 percent privately funded, and Gimenez said in November that Dade County could lease county-owned land at the PortMiami site in Biscayne Bay to team owners, who would then build a stadium themselves.
According to a report in the Herald last year, roughly 25 acres could be made available – enough for a 25,000-seat stadium with expandable seating for various events – if the site is chosen.