David Beckham might. They may be the lifeline he needs.
His pursuit to bring a MLS franchise to Miami has not been without its difficulties, and those difficulties have been well documented; their lack of stadium being the critical missing piece of the puzzle.
But it appears a possible stadium tie-up with the University of Miami’s soccer set-up – the Hurricanes – could be the meal ticket they need.
Safety in numbers
New franchises turning up to the MLS expansion party with the stadium box ticked (http://goo.gl/aD6AxS) is a must.
To revisit context, last year, Beckham’s group proposed to build its own stadium and pay rent provided Miami could provide it with free land.
This didn’t come to fruition.
But the advance they need to get this off the ground now may come in the form of the University of Miami who have stated they stand to benefit as much from a soccer-specific stadium as Beckham’s franchise would. This gives much needed weight behind the pursuit.
Good things come to those who wait
“If they can’t get it done here, they may have to go somewhere else.’’ Skepticism is kicking in, certainly for Miami’s mayor.. But it would be worth him holding out.
L.A. Galaxy’s owner, Anschutz Entertainment Group, took a gamble on Beckham in 2007 by bringing him Stateside, and it was one which paid off – the Galaxy are now the richest team in the MLS, worth upwards of $100 million.
The man has a knack for attracting money.
Two quite substantial facts just to put his stature into perspective:
- “His debut in the New York-area drew 66,000 people to Giants Stadium, five times the typical MLS crowd.”
- “Two months after his arrival, weight loss firm Herbalife agreed to a $4 million-a-year jersey sponsorship deal, twice what any other team commands. The payoff for Herbalife: 300,000 walking billboards in the form of the number of jerseys being snapped up with ‘Beckham 23’ on the back in the first year.”
Ensuring this happens is surely high on Miami’s agenda, although it may not seem like it.
Moving on to other pieces of the puzzle
Despite the hype and skepticism concerning the length of time this is taking, there are no signs of Beckham fever cooling.
So with all eyes on them, the sooner a stadium solution is found, the sooner Beckham’s group can focus their efforts on other items of interest. Branding being one.
Its name will become the most identifiable element of the franchise. MLS’s CMO, Howard Handler, shed his thoughts on this point recently with the upcoming Atlanta MLS franchise due to make an announcement on their name: http://goo.gl/U6Pn3z.
Branding is where it starts to get real.
Share a stadium. Share a name.
Then for MLS to really work in Miami, superstar’s are a core ingredient. The Ronaldo’s. The Messi’s, The Hazard’s. They need to develop a team who create excitement in the stands and with the media wherever they go.
To recreate what Real Madrid have done with their signing’s becoming as much of a fixture as their games wouldn’t be an unfounded strategy.
Miami’s Galácticos could well be the Hurricanes.
Whatever it is, if this comes off, the Hurricanes will have a place in Miami football history.
For now, regardless, the football World is watching with anticipation.
* For anybody interested, this is how a stadium move can be transformational to a club’s development: http://goo.gl/ifUhhG