Beckham's Agreement For Discounted MLS Expansion Team Expires At Year's End
MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Tuesday revealed that David Beckham's agreement to purchase an expansion team at a discounted rate of $25M "expires on Dec. 31," according to Brian Straus of SI.com. But Beckham "needs more capital to secure the soccer specific stadium he hopes to build," and the MLS BOG "will not approve Beckham as a club owner and partner until he finalizes a stadium plan." Garber said that he "could imagine Miami being aboard" in '17 or '18. Straus wrote that timeline "would appear" to give Beckham "ample time." There is "almost no chance" MLS will "cut ties if he's unable to secure a stadium deal over the next six weeks." MLS "could either extend the initial agreement or renegotiate for a slightly higher expansion fee" (SI.com, 11/20).
THE KING AND I: Heat F LeBron James yesterday said of possibly teaming up with Beckham to purchase an MLS franchise in Miami, "I wish it was easy. We're working on it. We'll see what happens" (AP, 11/20). In Orlando, Brian Schmitz writes Miami residents who are "nervous" about James leaving the Heat once his contract is up are "hoping the arrival of the MLS will help keep King James in town." A "working theory is that if LeBron delivers Miami an MLS team, James will have established deeper South Florida roots, making it harder for him to leave if, or when, he explores free agency, possibly this summer." None of this "likely means much at decision time to LeBron," as owners of pro sports teams "don't necessarily need to live in the same town as their teams, or even hang around them much" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/21).