David Beckham's attempts to bring an MLS expansion team to Miami have been moving at a glacial pace. It's been nearly three years since the league announced that they had reserved an expansion slot for Beckham in Miami and they're still working out a number of issues. All the while, MLS commissioner Don Garber and the rest of the league have been very supportive of Beckham's efforts, something that has not changed.
But when Garber addressed the media in his annual State of the League address on Friday, there was news: Beckham is working against a deadline.
“There is a deadline on the Miami deal,” Garber said.
Article continues below ...
The commissioner declined to say what that deadline was, but it was a marked change from his previous statements, which generally expressed optimism and little doubt that Beckham's Miami team would be in the league one day. Garber didn't back off that expectation, but acknowledging a deadline has put the possibility of the team not entering the league into the picture, which has never been the case before.
Miami has struggled to get a stadium deal done. Originally they wanted to be on the water and had multiple sites in mind, but none of them worked out. There was talk about the team playing at Florida International University, but that was scuppered, and now they're focused on building a stadium in Overtown, but still have work to do before anything can be locked in.
The stadium isn't Miami's only hurdle. Garber spoke about rounding out the ownership group and working with the community as part of the work that has to be done.
MLS needs Miami to get sorted out soon, though. The team is supposed to be the league's 24th and they're already working on four expansion teams to follow.
“We need to resolve the Miami deal so we can move forward with teams 25-28 because they’re team 24,” Garber explained.
Garber said that there will be news on the expansion process for the next four teams in the next week. If Miami has to be decided before they can go forward with those teams then Miami has to get a move on things. And while we may not know when that deadline is, we now know that there is definitely a deadline and Miami's process can't go on indefinitely. The pressure is on to get something done.