OPINION: Will Beckham’s Miami Project be a Success?

March 01, 2018

- Grant Whittington

They say that good things come to those who wait, and David Beckham is probably a man who can testify to this old adage.

After all, it took 1,454 days for him to realise his goal of launching a professional football franchise in Miami, from the time he arrived in the Magic City to the rubber-stamping of his plans by the MLS. This period of time has seen the project endure a number of peaks and troughs, and barely a year ago it appeared as though all of Beckham’s hard work would be undone political machinations, thwarted stadium deals and resistance from locals.

In this post, we’ll chart the former England skipper’s journey so far, and ask whether or not it will be a success.

The Realisation of a Dream – Beckham’s Road to Success

It took more than four years and a considerable level of investment, but Beckham’s dream of becoming a Major League Soccer team owner has finally come to fruition. In short, the Manchester United and England legend has paid a total of $25 million for the rights to launch in own expansion franchise, and plans to enter his outfit in the U.S. top-flight within two years.

The new club, which has yet to be named by Beckham and his advisors, will bring professional football back to Miami for the first time since 2001, and there’s no doubt that the former England captain has grand plans for the franchise.

Not only does he want to attract top talent from across the globe, for example, but he has also announced plans to develop an academy model that is capable of producing an entire generation of home-grown talent.

This desire has been borne out of Beckham’s experience at Old Trafford, as he strives to replicate the success of the so-called ‘Class of ’92’ (which he was a seminal part of) and build a dynasty in the city of Miami.

Given all that Beckham achieved during his globe-trotting career, it should come as no surprise that he has realised his own version of the American Dream. Still, this process was not without its trials, however, and barely a year ago it seemed as though the former star would need to shelve his plans amid a myriad of mounting issues.

What had started out as a lucrative retirement project for Beckham quickly began to turn sour last spring, with the famed ex-footballer besieged by a host of problems. Firstly, a number of potential stadium deals fell through after lengthy negotiations, costing the project considerable sums of money and a seemingly inordinate amount of time. Not only this, but a number of locals also voiced oppositions to the plans and future stadium construction, with their representatives taking numerous measures to stall and delay the progress of Beckham’s wealthy investment group.

At the same time, Beckham was also trying to push his proposal through Miami’s notoriously slow and complex political process, and there were numerous times when it appeared as though the project was grinding to a complete and utter halt.

These issues came to a head last April, when MLS commissioner Don Garber announced that at least 12 other North American cities were chasing a prized franchise place, and that Beckham’s Miami would be given no preference unless they were able to push through their proposal.

It was last June that Beckham finally achieved a crucial breakthrough, however, as his investors secured the final, three-acre plot of land required to build a new arena in the Overtown district. The negotiations to secure this land were considered to be pivotal to the success of the project, and if they had failed we may have well have seen Beckham’s plans ground to dust.

Will the Franchise be a Success?

Beckham is probably used to last-gasp success, of course, having played in a Manchester United side that was renowned for its last minute goals and triumphs. It can be argued that the hard work starts here, however, as he must now focus on building a side, coaching staff and academy that can drive short and long-term success.

Still, Beckham is well-placed to make his franchise an on-field and commercial success. His star quality and the excitement surrounding his proposal will certainly attract leading talent to the city, for example, while his innate knowledge of successful and close-knit teams could prove crucial as the franchise begins to evolve.

Financial resources should also not be an issue for Beckham and his investors, meaning that he can continue to fund his franchise when it enters the MLS.

With these points in mind, we reckon that Miami could well become a seminal force in American football over the course of the next five years or more.

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