Beckham closer to forming new MLS club

Beckham closer to forming new MLS club

Beckham closer to forming new MLS club

Miami-Dade County commissioners have approved the sale of county-owned land to the group representing David Beckham to build a soccer stadium, Tuesday.

Beckham's group, which has already paid $19 million for the other six acres, will spend just over $9 million for the last piece of land. And now, all that's left is for Beckham to win MLS approval for his Miami franchise.

If Miami Beckham United gets zoning approval in 2018, it hopes to open the stadium in 2020. For starters, the MLS-which gave Beckham a huge discount on the league's expansion fee when he inked his contract to play for the L.A. Galaxy a decade ago-insisted on a downtown stadium location.

And for once, the pressure was on the ownership group: They aren't shopping between cities, and with the MLS eager to ink expansion deals, the Beckham group feels that the Overtown site is its last chance. A few supporters spoke as well, and after three hours of discussion commissioners approved the deal 9-4.

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MLS has seen 22 franchises over the years, but Miami has no MLS team since 2001. The plan has changed many times along the way, most notably because he was unable to get waterfront land that his group first coveted for a stadium site. Miami-Dade Water and Sewer kicked in $125,000 to pay for documentary stamps, and the county will front $593,000 to clean up hazardous waste from the land.

"He will be a happy man today", Leiweke said.

The taxpayer-backed arrangement that gave the Miami Marlins a new ballpark on the site of the former Orange Bowl is still very much a contentious issue in Miami.

"As far as sports deals go with the county, this one isn't so bad", Commissioner Joe Martinez said.

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Commissioner Danielle Levine Cava, another no vote, said she applauded Beckham's group for encouraging fans to use public transit instead of driving - but questioned why MLS didn't make more of a commitment to improve decaying Metrorail and bus facilities in the area.

More than four years after he started scouting potential homes for a team, Beckham will soon have the piece of land he needs.

The building of a new venue still needs to be approved by the U.S. city.

"In the background, we've spent a lot of time on our training academy and where it should be and what it should do, also have been working on a management team, our name and logo and colors".

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