SBD/July 30, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

David Beckham Key To Future MLS Expansion, With Miami The Clear Front-Runner

Beckham (r) has frequented Miami, meeting with city officials in recent months
David Beckham is "preparing to take advantage of a reduced-price ownership option that MLS gave him" when he signed with the Galaxy in '07, and his involvement is "central to league conversations about expanding for the ninth time in a little more than a decade," according to Steve Wieberg in a special to USA TODAY. Beckham has "set his sights on Miami, visiting in recent months with local officials and checking out stadium options." MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, "David is very focused in looking at Miami. We're working with him to determine if the market makes sense. We've got a lot of work to do before we can come to that conclusion." Wieberg notes in addition to Miami, expansion speculation "focuses on Orlando, Atlanta and San Antonio, along with Minneapolis, St. Louis and Phoenix, among other cities." Garber yesterday reiterated that further expansion is "nearly certain," but gave no timetable. The league's BOG "will meet all day" tomorrow in advance of the MLS All-Star Game in K.C. However, Garber said that "no decisions would be made" at the event. Garber: "There's no rush in this. No need. ... I've said this before. It's not an 'if.' It's more 'when'" (USA TODAY, 7/30).

STATE OF THE LEAGUE: Garber said that that the U.S. men's national team's CONCACAF Gold Cup victory is "further evidence that MLS is succeeding in producing the next line of stars." Garber: "When I look at their recent success in the Gold Cup, with a core of MLS players, it just proves the point that we're right on track." Meanwhile, Garber said that discussions for MLS' future TV contracts will "begin early this fall," as the league's deals with ESPN, NBC and Univision are set to expire after the '14 season (AP, 7/29).
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