The Miami Herald reported Tuesday that David Beckham is lining up veteran sports executive Tim Leiweke to join the effort to place an MLS expansion team in Miami.
As CEO and president of Anschutz Entertainment Group, operator-investor of the LA Galaxy, Leiweke spearheaded the signing of Beckham to an MLS contract in January, 2007, as the league’s first Designated Player. Beckham helped the Galaxy to reach three MLS championship games and win two of them before retiring in May, 2013.
After building AEG into one of the world’s most powerful sports ownership companies, Leiweke ended his 17-year stint in March, 2013. A month later he joined Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which counts among its properties Toronto FC of MLS, as president and CEO. He had announced he would leave MLS&E at the end of June but later decided to stay on as the company found a successor.
Leiweke told Bloomberg News a year ago he had talked with entertainment mogul Irving Azoff about embarking on a joint venture but nothing transpired.
According to the Herald, Leiweke would join the investment group that includes Beckham and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. Miami Beckham United spokesman Tadd Schwartz did not confirm discussions with Leiweke had taken place. Sources said Leiweke, 58, has been meeting with local politicians over the past several weeks to finalize his involvement.
Negotiations with the city of Miami and Miami-Dade country are underway to build a stadium on a site that would be shared with the Florida Marlins of Major League Baseball. Political opposition thwarted efforts to build on two other sites; an inaugural season of 2018 that could coincide with the startup of several other expansion teams is one possibility.