Beckham says owning Miami MLS team 'exciting'

Updated: 2013-06-03 08:11

By Reuters in Miami (China Daily)

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David Beckham said the prospect of owning a Major League Soccer team in Miami was "exciting" after he was urged to help bring a new franchise to the city at a meeting with key political leaders on Saturday.

Beckham, accompanied by Bolivian-born billionaire Marcelo Claure, who wants to team up with him in owning a new franchise, visited two potential stadiums and met with the mayor of Miami-Dade County Carlos Gimenez, who handed him the keys to the county.

The former England captain, who retired from football last month, played in the MLS with the LA Galaxy.

His contract included an option to create a new team for $25 million and he is understood to have other locations in mind as well.

But Beckham sounded positive about the chances of taking his step into club ownership in Miami.

"I think bringing an MLS team here to South Florida would be... it's exciting," Beckham saud.

"I think Miami fans are very passionate about their sports and very passionate about winning and of course, it would have to be success but it's definitely exciting," he said.

Miami Dade County commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz said there was real backing for a team in Miami.

"There is huge political support. It is not only from the county, it's 100 percent support from the municipalities, the mayors and the commissioner, the counselors from the different cities, they are also extremely supportive," he said.

Beckham visited Sun Life stadium, home to the NFL's Miami Dolphins, whose owner, Stephen Ross, recently set up a soccer division, and met with Dolphins chief executive Mike Dee.

Sun Life holds around 75,000 fans and has hosted several international friendlies in recent years but may be considered too large for an MLS team.

Together with British entrepreneur Simon Fuller, whose management company, 19 Entertainment, handles Beckham's business affairs, Beckham later visited a 20,000-seat stadium at Florida International University (FIU).

Claure, owner of Bolivian club Bolivar, is a member of the board of trustees of FIU and has previously promoted the idea of an MLS team playing at the venue.

The FIU stadium underwent major renovations in 2007 and is home to the University's American football team.

(China Daily 06/03/2013 page23)