Hey, South Florida soccer fans: Don’t give up hope just yet on David Beckham’s seemingly-endless quest to bring Major League Soccer to Miami.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in his State of the League address on Friday that he remains “confident” they will work out a deal and he believes a yet-to-be-named local owner would help resolve the challenges the group has faced since Beckham first proposed the team in February 2104.
“It is the most complicated situation in any market that we’ve experienced, at least in my 18 years,” Garber began. “Part of it has been complicated by the Miami market generally. It’s a difficult sports market. The second part of that is that it’s one of the fastest-growing value markets as it relates to their real estate. Third is the political structure. There’s a variety of different mayors all for the same space.
“And, part of it is we ‘ve needed a local owner because we’ve seen that in at least in the success of some of those Miami teams, having a local owner has been one of the factors. So, we’ve needed to get finalization of the land. The lawsuit on that land, the appeal was turned down last week. We’ve been working hard to find a local owner for David Beckham. I feel comfortable that will come together.”
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Garber concluded by affirming that MLS has not given up on the idea of a Miami team.
“I continue to say we want Miami in the league,” Garber said. “It’s a large market. It’s a gateway city. There are a lot of values to us having a team down there and I remain confident we’ll get something done.”
Last week, Beckham’s partner and chief negotiator Tim Leiweke sounded pessimistic about the deal in an interview with the Toronto Sun. He said: “I have my fears as to whether it’s going to get done, because things like this drag on this long that’s always tough on a process. But for David I hope he lands somewhere.”