SBD/November 20, 2013/Franchises

Garber Gives Another Strong Indication Miami Will Receive MLS Club In Near Future

Garber said to expect a team several hundred miles south of Orlando
MLS Commissioner Don Garber last night in announcing Orlando City SC will join the league in '15 "added validity to the hope that South Florida" will also gain an expansion franchise soon, according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Garber confirmed that the effort "spearheaded by superstar David Beckham ... is a serious bid to locate another expansion team in the region, and the league is behind it." Garber following the formal Orlando City announcement "told a raucous downtown crowd ... that they can expect to have some rivals soon several hundred miles to the south." That "elicited boos, but is another indication that South Florida soccer fans may soon have an announcement of their own to celebrate" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/20).

GETTING INVOLVED AT THE RIGHT TIME: Heat F LeBron James earlier this week indicated that he was interested in partnering with Beckham to bring an MLS club to Miami, and CBSSN's Allie LaForce called it a smart move because soccer is "becoming more and more popular in this country and David Beckham is a huge name, probably the only recognizable soccer name in our country." LaForce: "On top of that, you think about all the negativity going on with the NFL right now and the post effects of it, all the parents are putting their kids in soccer right now. ... Soccer is going to be growing in this country and he’s recognizing it and putting his money to good worth." She acknowledged soccer is not "going to be the most popular thing right now" but speculated it is "going to be popular 10-15 years down the line, so it’s the perfect time to get one going right now.” However, CBSSN's Tony Luftman questioned the Miami fan base, asking, “Are they going to buy in? Are they going to go to the games? I think this is going to happen but is it a viable business there?” LaForce: “Miami fans aren’t actually sports fans. Miami fans want to be entertained. They want an excuse to drink and wear all white” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 11/19).

SIGN LEBRON IS STAYING PUT? James can become a free agent after the NBA season, and ESPN's Michael Wilbon, speaking as James, asked, "If I have a big business interest in Miami, does it mean I'm staying in Miami?" Wilbon: "You don’t think I have business interests in northeast Ohio, like Akron, where I live? Did I stay there? … I got business interests in a lot of places. It doesn’t mean I actually go to work there" ("PTI," ESPN, 11/19).
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