David Beckham doesn’t have an expansion team just yet, but he’s one step closer to building the stadium required to bring MLS to Miami.
On Tuesday, the South Florida Business Journal reported that Miami-Dade County had unanimously approved a resolution to negotiate with a group led by the former LA Galaxy midfielder in order to find a stadium location.
Although there have been a number of possible sites floated publicly, with SFBJ reporting it appears Miami Beach and Downtown Miami would be preferred, no locations have yet been determined.
The stadium will be 100 percent privately financed, and there will not be any request for public money from Miami-Dade County, according to Beckham's group.
“We hope to send a strong message to MLS and Beckham’s group to bring them here,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.
A report in The Miami Herald in November claimed that Beckham and his partners had identified a "top potential site for a permanent soccer stadium for a new MLS team: Port Miami."
The Miami-Dade County mayor's office confirmed the approach by Beckham's group, but said "talks with the county over the seaport site are still in their infancy." At the time, deputy mayor Chip Iglesias said Beckham’s group was looking at 30 different stadium sites, and that an urban setting was preferred.
Beckham has visited Miami on more than one occasion recently, touring potential locations, including SunLife Stadium, Marlins Park and the FIU stadium on the Florida International University campus.
In his State of the League address before MLS Cup, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said the league was “making progress” in Miami. Beckham and his business partner Simon Fuller are leading the expansion charge and should they come up with "a great facility plan and another economic partner," Garber said he believed "we could have a formula for success."
"There’s a lot of work that needs to happen," he said. "We can’t go to Miami without the right stadium solution. David understands that. The city understands that. That’s an indisputable fact. We can’t have different rules in Miami than we have in any other city.
"We want to do as much as we can to work with David and Simon Fuller to get something done as quickly as we can."
Garber issued a statement on Tuesday in light of the latest stadium news.
“We greatly appreciate the support shown by the Miami-Dade County Commission and look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Gimenez, the Commission and David Beckham on finalizing a plan for a new MLS stadium in Miami," he said.
Beckham has also had “preliminary talks” with NBA superstar and Miami Heat forward LeBron James about a potential partnership.
Should Beckham be awarded an expansion franchise in Miami, the club would join Orlando City SC as Florida-based teams after the latter were announced as MLS’ 21st franchise in October.