What to Expect With the Miami MLS Expansion Team
Don’t look now, but the soccer boom in the United States is just getting started. With record viewership and attendance, Major League Soccer is expanding once more with Miami being the beneficiary of the newest addition to the league. But how is the Beautiful Game going to hit the scene in the Magic City? We have some details, some predictions, and some wild speculation for you right here.
Who’s Running the Team?
For starters, we need to know who is in charge of this operation. Longtime soccer fans and those prone to swooning will be happy to see former star David Beckham still leading the group since the last failed attempt in Miami in 2009. He is joined by an impressive group of bajillionaire business leaders, such as Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, MasTec leaders Jorge and Jose Mas who by most accounts were the saviors of the project, CEO and founder of SoftBank Masayoshi Son, and itinerant entertainment naysayer (and occasional yeasayer) Simon Fuller.
What is the Team’s Name and Venue?
Here is where we get into some guesswork. The team has yet to be named officially, though meetings with officials included terrible ideas like The Miami Vice and The Miami Current. They still have time to come up with something good though. As for the venue, Beckham has long desired having a waterfront stadium, initially pushing for Dodge Island, though that fell through thanks to pushback by other businesses in the area. The current plan is to build a 25,000-seat stadium in the historic and diverse Overtown neighborhood, though concerns over gentrification and related issues could derail the project, even though Beckham has already secured land through a deal with Miami-Dade County. There are plans C, D, and E as failsafes, however, located near Miami International Airport, Marlins Park, and Florida International University, respectively.
What Does This Mean for the City, the League and the Sport?
Most immediately, the city of Miami seems a perfect spot for The World Game, with its diverse population and status as the cultural capital of southern Florida. Drawing fans shouldn’t be a problem — citizens have been itching to get their hands, er feet, on some football since the Fusion (another terrible name, just saying) folded in 2002. As for MLS, this is part of their plan to expand the league from 20 to 24 teams by 2020, with hopeful plans to bump up even further after that. With the league having seen massive growth over the past decade, and Nashville next in line, Miami will be under the microscope to prove it can be done. Despite the city having not been ready at Y2K, fans and onlookers alike are optimistic that Beckham and his squad have the right mix of passion, money, brains, and timing to get it done this time.
(Cropped image courtesy of Ruimc77 via Flickr.)