Lots of talk, little action on both MLS, Beckham sides amid Miami expansion quest
Miami’s endless expansion effort continues. Now well into its third year, David Beckham’s quest to build a stadium at PortMiami or on the downtown waterfront or next to Marlins Park or in Overtown remains unfulfilled. His pursuit of additional investors also was fruitless, as potential partners from Paris Saint-Germain owner Qatar Sports Investment to Milwaukee Bucks owner Wes Edens expressed interest then backed away.
MLS is in a bind. Beckham exercised his option to purchase an expansion team at a reduced rate (originally $25 million, now more thanks to the delay). The league has an obligation. And it seems unlikely that Beckham would take a buyout on an asset worth so much more than he’s invested. That doesn’t mean a buyout is even being considered. MLS would love for Miami to work out, so much so that it’s endured the embarrassment caused by repeated failures and delay. Every time commissioner Don Garber has said it’s time for the process to reach its conclusion—and he was saying it as far back as last September—it hasn’t really been time. The feeling is that if Beckham is successful in Miami, no one will remember the nonsense along the way.
So, the league hangs in. There was discussion but no decision at this week’s board of governor’s meeting in Colorado and on Wednesday, the Daily Mail reported that Beckham was close to a deal with potential investor Todd Boehly. Later, The Miami Herald and ESPN reported Boehly was on board. He’s the chairman of Eldridge Industries, which owns Dick Clark Productions, Billboard magazine and other media properties. Boehly also is a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The increased funding should help as negotiations drag on over a piece of Overtown land the Beckham group needs to construct a stadium.
Garber had this to say last Friday during a meeting with APSE editors: “We’ve all reached agreement, he included, that we’ve all put in an enormous amount of time and money and energy into getting something finalized. And we all agree it’s time to either move forward or not. And that time is upon us. It’s not a specific day, but that time is upon us.”
It’s remains unclear how MLS would end its relationship with Beckham if his group is unable to make the Overtown stadium happen. But it clearly doesn't want to. Absent an escape route, it seems Beckham will continue to get time and latitude.