After four years of waiting, David Beckham finally has his MLS franchise.
The league officially announced Monday that it has awarded the soccer icon and his ownership group an expansion franchise in Miami. The announcement comes four years after Beckham originally exercised his option to own an expansion team.
The league, however, has yet to announce when the team will begin playing or the team’s name and logo. ESPN reported that Beckham said he hopes to have the team playing in 2020.
“Our mission to bring an MLS club to Miami is now complete, and we are deeply satisfied, grateful and excited,” Beckham in a statement. “Our pledge to our fans in Miami and around the world is simple: your team will always strive to make you proud on the pitch, our stadium will be a place that you cherish visiting, and our impact in the community and on South Florida’s youth will run deep.”
The rest of Beckham’s investment group includes Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure; Jorge and Jose Mas, co-founders of Miami-based telecommunications and construction giant MasTec; Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of SoftBank; and entertainment entrepreneur and manager Simon Fuller.
Much of the delay was attributed to securing financing and plans for a privately funded stadium in the area. Beckham and his partners accomplished that last summer, winning a land bid to build a 25,000-seat soccer stadium in the Overtown neighborhood.
Beckham, one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, began his path to ownership back in 2007, when he originally joined MLS as a player with the Los Angeles Galaxy. His contract included an option to begin his own franchise after his playing days were over, reportedly for a reduced expansion fee of $25 million.
With the announcement, Beckham becomes the first former MLS player to own a team in the league.
--Field Level Media