David Beckham added another heavy hitter to his management team as he continues to work toward launching a Major League Soccer team in Miami.
According to sources close to negotiations, the newcomer to the investment group is Tim Leiweke, the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which runs the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL, Toronto Raptors of the NBA and Toronto FC of MLS.
Leiweke, 58, is the former CEO and president of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the world’s largest owner of sports teams and sports events. Among the company’s holdings are the L.A. Kings, L.A. Galaxy, the Staples Center, StubHub Center, and the O2 in London. They also are part-owners of the L.A. Lakers, Houston Dynamo, and previously held ownership of the MLS clubs Chicago Fire, San Jose Earthquakes, NY/NJ MetroStars and D.C. United.
Leiweke brings 30 years of experience and sports business credibility to Beckham’s project. He was instrumental in bringing Beckham to play for the Galaxy, and remains close to the British soccer icon. Miami Beckham United spokesman Tadd Schwartz wouldn’t confirm Leiweke’s involvement, but sources said Leiweke has been meeting with Miami-Dade politicians over the past several weeks to accelerate the deal.
Beckham’s group, which also includes Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, is negotiating with the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County to build a stadium adjacent to Marlins Park. They have made significant progress since Leiweke joined the talks, and hope to have an agreement reached before Christmas, according to one source.