Beckham's MLS franchise confirmed for Miami

19:30, Feb 05 2014
David Beckham
LA Galaxy player David Beckham during the match against Pheonix at Westpac Stadium.
David Beckham
David Beckham #23 of Los Angeles Galaxy poses with his sons Brooklyn Beckham, Cruz Beckham and Romeo Beckham after the Galaxy defeat the Houston Dynamo 3-1 to win the 2012 MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center on December 1, 2012 in Carson, California.
David Beckham
Professional soccer player David Beckham, wife Victoria Beckham and sons (L-R) Cruz, Romeo and Brooklyn Beckham arrive at the 27th Anniversary Sports Spectacular benefiting Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on May 20, 2012 in Century City, California.
David Beckham
David Beckham of AC Milan during the Serie A match between AC Milan and AC Chievo Verona at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on March 14, 2010 in Milan, Italy.
David Beckham
David Beckham the England Captain takes a free kick during the International Friendly match between England and Hungary at Old Trafford on May 30, 2006 in Manchester, England.
David Beckham
avid Beckham of Real Madrid celebrates Real Madrid's opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Real Madrid and Olympic Marseille on September 16, 2003 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain.
David Beckham
David Beckham of Manchester United taking a free-kick during the AXA FA Cup semi-final match against Arsenal played at Villa Park in Birmingham, England. The match finished in a 0-0 draw after extra-time was played.
David Beckham
Manchester United and England star David Beckham and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson help launch the One Dream Day and Pepsi Player Party Promotions held at Carrington, in Manchester, England on April 26, 2002.
David Beckham
England's David Beckham celebrates his goal against Azerbaijan in their group six World Cup qualifying soccer match at St. James' Park in Newcastle in this March 30, 2005 photo.
David Beckham
Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham celebrate at the end of their team's French Ligue 1 soccer match against Olympique Lyon at the Gerland stadium in Lyon May 12, 2013. Paris Saint-Germain secured the French Ligue 1 soccer Championships title after beating Olympique Lyon 0-1 on Sunday in Lyon.
David Beckham
The Oceania All Stars take on the LA Galaxy at Mount Smart stadium featuring superstar David Beckham.
David Beckham
David Beckham and Victoria Beckham sit in the Royal Box during the Gentlemen's Singles final match between Roger Federer of Switzerland and Andy Murray of Great Britain on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 8, 2012 in London.

Former England football captain David Beckham announced on Wednesday (local time) that he is exercising his option to become the owner of a Major League Soccer team in Miami.

"This is a dream," the international football star said at an appearance with MLS Commissioner Don Garber at the Florida city's gleaming new bayfront art museum.

"This is an exciting time for myself and an exciting time for my family and my friends and my partners," Beckham added.

Garber called the decision a "historic day ... for soccer in America."

A final deal to grant the franchise to Beckham's investment group could be several months away though, sources close to the negotiations said, with a stadium location and financing still requiring approval from the MLS board for his team to become the 22nd club of the top US professional league.

The mayor of Miami Dade, Carlos Gimenez, said negotiations for the stadium started last week.

"There's going to be a few bumps along the way, but we're going to make the team in Miami not just the best team in America, we're going to take the team global," Beckham told a reception for city leaders at Miami's performing arts centre on Tuesday night.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, who also played for the Los Angeles Galaxy, retired as a player last May and holds a US$25 million option in his MLS contract to start a new franchise.

Beckham is already in discussions with Miami-Dade county to possibly lease county-owned land for a 25,000-seat stadium.

"I have seen the atmosphere around the city," Beckham told the media Tuesday outside the reception, referring to scenes he witnessed last year when the city's basketball team, the Miami Heat, captured the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship.

"I saw the passion of the people for sport," he said, dressed in a sharp charcoal suit and tie.

Beckham, 38, arrived in Miami fresh from having attended Sunday's Superbowl in New Jersey, TV coverage of which featured a fit Beckham in an underwear commercial.

Beckham's investment group has narrowed its stadium search to five possible sites in and around downtown Miami, officials say, including a 25-acre (10-hectare) waterfront lot next to the port of Miami's cruise ship terminals, potentially putting the new team at the forefront of Miami's tourism landscape.

MLS has stressed the importance of having a final stadium deal, along with a business plan, before it will approve a new team.

Beckham's group is not looking for public financing, but may need to negotiate site plans with the county, such as leasing the port location, to help build a privately financed stadium.

Beckham has toured Miami twice in recent months with British businessman and American Idol creator Simon Fuller, as well as Bolivian-born billionaire Marcelo Claure, founder of Miami-based Brightstar Corp, the world's largest wireless distributor and the provider of global services to Apple.

Beckham is also looking for a pad in Miami, although the London home he shares with his wife of 14 years, former pop star-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, and their four young children, will remain the main family home.

"We are going to be spending a lot of time here," he told the media on Tuesday. "We are hoping to get our own place here as well."

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David Beckham
HEADING TO SOUTH BEACH: David Beckham has confirmed he has exercised an option to buy an expansion MLS team in Miami.
David Beckham
NEW TEAM: David Beckham has exercised his option to purchase a Major League Soccer expansion team in Miami.

Reuters