independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

David Beckham chooses Miami for his new soccer franchise

David Beckham was granted the right to buy a franchise when he signed with LA Galaxy

DAVID BECKHAM has selected Miami as the city where he intends to set up a Major League Soccer franchise, it is understood.

While a deal to complete Beckham's move into ownership is yet to be agreed, it is understood the former England captain has pinpointed Miami as his final choice.

Beckham has an option to buy a franchise for $25m, although he faces strong competition from around the world if he is to realise his ambition to own an MLS club.

More than 12 investor groups have already registered their interest in buying an expansion team.

Beckham would, seemingly, have the jump on those after his initial deal with Los Angeles Galaxy, when he signed as a player in 2007, included an agreement that would enable him to one day purchase a franchise.

It is understood that should Beckham win the race to set up a team in Miami that he would then look to sell it to potential investors for almost treble the discounted $25m buying price.

That figures represents a quarter of the price Manchester City paid, in partnership with the New York Yankees, to launch New York City FC from 2015.

Florida is seen as an untapped market in the United States with no top-flight team having operated out of the southern state since 2001, when the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny last operated.

Beckham has been expected to launch an MLS franchise since ending his five-year stay at LA Galaxy last December.

The 38-year-old then retired from the game completely, following a brief stint at Paris St Germain, at the end of last season and was reportedly in the US earlier this year to size up potential locations.

At present the MLS consists of 19 franchises, but expansion plans hope to increase that number to 24 by the 2020 season.

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