Doubts raised about Beckham's Miami MLS bid

It was only hours before the MLS All-Star Game in Chicago on Aug. 2 when MLS commissioner Don Garber updated the media on David Beckham's presentation to the Board of Governors on his group's plans for a team in Miami.

Garber said the board of governors was impressed with the work investor Todd Boehly and Beckham had been doing to move the bid forward, finally securing a stadium site for the team that has been in a holding pattern since Beckham exercised his option on an MLS expansion team -- price tag: $25 million -- and was introduced to the Miami media in February 2014.

Garber said Miami Beckham United was at the finish line. He cautioned work still needed to be done but he was confident about announcing MLS Miami was official, "perhaps by the end of the summer."

The summer has come and gone, and four months later there's still been no announcement. Indeed, there's been little news out of Miami.

A nuisance suit attacking Miami-Dade County's sale of a three-acre truck depot Miami Beckham United needs to complete the stadium site in Overtown has been working its way through the Florida courts.

The circuit court judge dismissed the attempt to sabotage the deal with what he termed a "sham bid," but his decision has been appealed and the appeal could take months to be heard.

With that in mind, Tim Leiweke's frustration with the state of Beckham's MLS bid is not surprising. In an interview with the Toronto Sun's Kurt Larson, he raised doubts whether the deal will ever get done.

Leiweke brought Beckham to MLS in 2007 when he was CEO and president of AEG, owner of the LA Galaxy, and was brought in to help Miami Beckham United win approval for the stadium site in Overtown after plans at several other Miami stadium sites fell through.

“I’m helping any way I can with David,” Leiweke told Larson. “I hope it gets done, but it’s not done. I have my fears as to whether it’s going to get done because things like this that drag on this long that’s always tough on a process. But for David I hope he lands somewhere.”

After AEG, Leiweke was the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and responsible for turning around Toronto FC. He is now the CEO of Oak View Group, which he operates with Hollywood music mogul Irving Azoff.

“It would be unfortunate for the league to not honor the job he did and the decision he made,” Leiweke added. “His best work would still be ahead of us if we could figure out a way to get him involved with a franchise. But our company has a lot of different projects. I haven’t spent a lot of time on Miami lately so I’m not sure if that gets done. I hope it does for David’s sake.”

If the Miami bid collapsed, it would create a big gap in MLS's building blocks. As recently as 2016, Miami was slated to join the league in 2018 along with LAFC. Without Miami, MLS will go with 23 teams in 2018 -- and absorb all the scheduling hassles an odd number of teams creates.

A solution for MLS, if Miami were no longer viewed as a viable option, would be to award MLS expansion teams to the three cities currently fighting for the two spots slated to be awarded in mid-December -- Sacramento, Nashville and Cincinnati -- and launch one of them in 2019.

4 comments about "Doubts raised about Beckham's Miami MLS bid".
  1. beautiful game, November 28, 2017 at 11:37 p.m.

    The MLS building blocks are for the wrong reasons, that being expansion in light of the mediocre quality on the pitch. 

  2. John Soares, November 29, 2017 at 12:50 p.m.

    This fiasco has been going n for far too long. I feel for the fans, but it's time to move on.
    There are other cities ready to move on and with far less drama.

  3. Ric Fonseca, November 29, 2017 at 6:02 p.m.

    Iam probably incorrect in saying that Lieweke is incorrect in putting the onus on the MLS since it is the city of Miami that seems to be fighting it hand foot.  As for other cities, Cincinati and Detroit's weather - well ask folks in Columbus - leaving Sacramento a better fit and right now California supports three NFL and NBA and two MLS teams respectively, so another MLS team is not a problem way out west here. Nashville? Don't think so.  David B and Tim L, pack your bags and come on back!!!

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, November 30, 2017 at 1:51 p.m.

    I was hoping for Phoenix to be a contender. I hope that dropping Phoenix from final consideration is not an MLS rejection of the air conditioned stadium plan. 

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