|Stadium||Miami MLS stadium|
Jorge and Jose Mas
|League||Major League Soccer|
The Miami MLS team is a proposed professional soccer team to be based in Miami, Florida. The year the team is scheduled to join Major League Soccer (MLS) is pending negotiations over stadium financing and location. The ownership group, known as Miami Beckham United, is led by David Beckham, his business partner Simon Fuller, Miami-based Bolivian businessman Marcelo Claure, American sports executive Tim Leiweke and CEO of Eldridge Industries and Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boehly. On the December 14, 2017, brothers Jorge and Jose Mas, and Masayoshi Son, were added to the ownership group.
The Miami team is part of a MLS expansion plan that will increase the number of teams from 20 to 24 teams by 2020 and to 28 teams beyond. The other locations already granted teams are Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Atlanta. MLS and the team's ownership group announced in December 2015 that a new stadium will be built in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami.
The name of the team has not yet been announced, although the "Miami Vice" and "Miami Current" were used by the ownership group in a presentation for the city officials and potential investors.
In November 2012, MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed the league's renewed interest in placing an expansion franchise in Miami, after the Miami Fusion folded following the 2001 season and an expansion bid led by Claure and FC Barcelona failed in 2009.
When Beckham, who had received an option to purchase an expansion team at a price of $25 million when he joined the league in 2007, ended his playing career in April 2013, the league held preliminary discussions with Beckham's advisers about several expansion targets, including Miami. That same year, other investors, including Italian financier Alessandro Butini and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross expressed interest in owning a Miami franchise as well.
In his December 2013 state of the League address, Garber identified Beckham and Simon Fuller as potential owners in Miami. Later that month, on December 17, Miami-Dade County commissioners voted unanimously to allow Mayor Carlos A. Giménez to negotiate with the Beckham-led group on a new stadium in downtown Miami.
The league announced that Beckham exercised his option on February 5, 2014, and that Miami Beckham United, the investment group led by Beckham, Fuller and Claure, would own an expansion franchise in Miami, assuming that financing for a stadium could be agreed upon.
After its initial stadium proposals fell through, Commissioner Garber reiterated in August 2014 that the expansion would not be approved until a downtown stadium plan was secured.
The team initially proposed a site on Dodge Island at PortMiami, but the plan was scrapped after facing opposition from existing seaport businesses. In May 2014, the team ownership group presented a plan for a largely privately financed 20,000-seat stadium on the waterfront in Downtown Miami at Museum Park, but the new plan also fell through after facing opposition from local residents.
Although the team initially expressed a desire for a stadium on the waterfront, other locations, including sites near Miami International Airport, Marlins Park and Florida International University have been mentioned as fallback plans.
In March 2014, the ownership group declared the new stadium would not be ready until 2018 at the earliest, and that the team would thusly need to play in a temporary stadium, possibly Marlins Park or FIU Stadium, for its inaugural season. The latter was endorsed as a temporary option in a February 2015 vote by the Miami-Dade County commissioners.
After a proposal to build next to Marlins Park fell through, the ownership group announced that it had tentatively agreed to acquire a nine-acre site in the Overtown neighborhood west of Downtown Miami. MLS ownership convened on December 5, 2015 to evaluate the proposed Overtown site, and announced their approval the same day. The proposed site consisted of approximately 6 acres (2.4 ha) of privately-owned land, which MBU formally purchased on March 24, 2016, and 3 acres (1.2 ha) of publicly-owned land. Delays in negotiations between MBU and Miami Dade County for the acquisition of the publicly-owned parcel of land persisted into November 2016, leading to internal conjecture within MLS that in addition to a delay in the groundbreaking and completion of the stadium, the team itself would not begin play until the 2019 season. Major League Soccer, however, has not revised its public statement regarding the team's inaugural season.
On June 6, 2017, Miami Dade County approved the sale of the last parcel of land needed for the proposed stadium.
A 200-member supporters group named Southern Legion was formed after the Fusion folded. Members of the Southern Legion were on hand for the announcement that Beckham was exercising his option, presenting him with a scarf.