David Beckham and LeBron James to Launch MLS Team

David Beckham may have found a superstar sporting ally in his bid to launch a Major League Soccer franchise in Miami – LeBron James.

The Miami Heat basketball star confirmed to Florida’s Sun Sentinel newspaper that he is considering joining forces with the former England captain in his plans for a new MLS team.

James said: “There’s some interest on both sides. David has become a good friend of mine over the last few years. I think it would be great for this city to have a football club for sure. There’s interest on both sides but it’s preliminary talks. There (is) some open dialogue.”

“The research is still being made out. I think it could be huge. You never know. I think this is a great town for soccer. There’s a lot of soccer players, there’s great youth soccer players here and people love the city as well. That definitely would help.”

Beckham’s deal with LA Galaxy and MLS gave him the option to buy a new league franchise for a cut-price $25m. MLS has announced plans to expand to 24 teams by 2020. The league currently has 19 teams and New York City FC, backed by Manchester City and the New York Yankees, has already been unveiled, leaving four spots to be filled.

Orlando City look set to become one of the new MLS franchises. Two teams in Florida would make strategic sense for MLS. Beckham’s representatives have let it be known that he is keen on launching his new team in Miami.

LeBron already has an interest in soccer, including a small ownership stake in Liverpool FC, via a marketing deal with Fenway Sports Management, part of the group which also own the Boston Red Sox.

Launching the team in Miami still has many hurdles to cross, not least approval from MLS executives.

Beckham scouted locations for a new stadium in Miami last week and is looking for investors. The cost of a new franchise would extend beyond the $25m for the expansion franchise, such as stadium construction and player acquisitions.

South Florida had an MLS team from 1998 to 2001 when the Miami Fusion played in Fort Lauderdale, but the franchise failed, partially due to poor attendances. Beckham and James would hope that star power would boost the new team.

Beckham has been courtside at Heat games this season and clearly understands the importance of the NBA MVP in Miami.

James said: “I’ve grown a great interest in watching the game. It’s a pretty intense sport. And my kids love it as well. But I’ve grown to the point where I know exactly what’s going on when I’m watching the game.”



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