Wednesday February 10th, 2016

David Beckham has spent the past six months in search of a potential majority partner for his Miami MLS team, reports Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald.

Beckham is looking for an equity partner to help pay for the estimated $300 million it will take to build a stadium and operate the team. Those interested in investing include Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, a group from China and Qatar Sports Investments, which owns Paris Saint Germain, reports Kaufman.

Beckham was given a low-cost option to buy an MLS team as part of the contract he signed with the L.A. Galaxy in 2007. MLS announced Beckham would exercise the option in February 2014, but he has run into numerous problems trying to build a stadium in Miami. 

The Miami MLS team will need to have its ownership group in place in order to close a stadium deal. Beckham’s current group—hoping to buy land in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood—will meet with city and county officials Wednesday.

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A potential equity partner could end up owning a majority share of the team. Beckham paid $20 million to start a franchise in Miami, while recent MLS expansion teams have sold for closer to $100 million.

Abramovich’s net worth is estimated at $7.8 billion. Beckham at least tangentially knows the Qatari group, having played for PSG in 2013.

Beckham is looking for an equity group with knowledge in professional sports, reports Kaufman. Beckham wants to build a training academy in addition to the stadium in South Florida.

The MLS Board of Governors will vote whether to approve the franchise once a stadium deal is done. It’s possible the Miami team makes its debut during the 2018 season. 

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