Commentary

Beckham checks out the Cage

By Paul Kennedy and Ridge Mahoney

One thing you have say about David Beckham is that he is taking his option (at a favorable price of $25 million) to acquire an MLS expansion team seriously.

Beckham was seen on the sidelines of a recent Heat-Pacers NBA playoff game with Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure, but he also spent time touring Florida International University in Miami and its 20,000-seat football stadium -- nickname the Cage -- that could be a possible home for an MLS team.

The Englishman, who retired from soccer after finishing up the 2013 season at Paris St. Germain, said students were very lucky to be at a school like FIU.

“It’s the feeling of a place for me,” Beckham told Miami television station CBS4. “Yknow, a history of places where I’ve been around the world. Yknow, when I come into the campus you can feel that there’s something special.”

MLS LANDS NEW PHOTO AGENCY. USA Today Sports Images has become the official photo partner of MLS and SUM.

The sports photography service will serve as the preferred photo provider for all MLS clubs, MLS special events, sponsors and licensees, as well as for MLS editorial staff and properties. MLS and SUM join USA Today Sports Images’ roster of partners that includes Nascar, the PGA Tour, UFC and Churchill Downs.

"Major League Soccer is one of the most dynamic sports brands in the world, and we’re thrilled to partner with them,” said Merrill Squires, USA Today Sports Media Group's senior vice president, leagues and properties, in a statement. “With its best-in-class photojournalists and platform delivery capabilities, we’re certain that USA Today Sports Images is the perfect match to not only capture the very best of MLS game action, but to provide MLS and SUM with an unparalleled level of image distribution and client service that its growth and popularity demands.”

ASIAN QUALIFIERS ON ONE WORLD. The final phase of Asian World Cup qualifying matches that kicks off this week will be streamed live and free of charge by ONE World Sports at oneworldsports.com.

Included in the special broadband preview is a critical match Tuesday between Japan and Australia, as well as games on the last two match days, June 11 and 18, that will determine the four automatic qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“We wanted to provide easy access for fans to sample the network’s live games with the World Cup qualifiers,” said Alexander “Sandy” Brown, president and CEO of ONE World Sports in a statement. “Opening up our channel on the web gives viewers a chance to see compelling action that they can’t see anywhere else, which is just a small part of the network’s 2,400 hours of unduplicated sports.”

Japan can clinch top spot in Group B by winning in Saitama; Australia can move into second with a victory. Uzbekistan leads Group A by a point over South Korea, which has played one fewer game. The top two teams in each group advance to the World Cup, and the third-place teams square off for the fifth spot.
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