David Beckham has reaffirmed his commitment to bringing an MLS franchise to Miami while also promoting the prospect of a Las Vegas franchise.
"My commitment is to the MLS, I was lucky enough to purchase a franchise and I picked Miami which I'm very proud of, very excited about," Beckham said. "It's been a long process, I can't lie, but one that will continue.
"Great things take time, and I'm starting to realize that, especially over the last few years since we announced our ideas in Miami. So I understand that it takes time. What you have at the end of it is something that is so special.”
The former Manchester United star was speaking to the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee alongside Mark Davis, owner of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, on Thursday morning in favor of a $1.4 billion dollar proposed stadium in Las Vegas. Casino tycoons Steve Wynn and Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson have discussed the idea of putting a domed stadium in the city to lure the Raiders. Beckham has a business partnership with the Sands group.
While the primary goal of the proposed stadium would be to land the Raiders, both Beckham and Tim Leiweke, who has been heavily involved in land negotiations for Miami Beckham United, pitched the idea of an MLS team coming to Vegas as a result.
Beckham also floated the prospect of a Vegas stadium hosting friendlies between prominent European clubs.
“To bring a great organization like the Raiders is incredible, but it’s bigger than that,” Beckham said. “It’s about the MLS coming here, it’s about bringing in the biggest European teams like Manchester United.”
Leiweke added: “You’re not the only one out there. As (MLS) Commissioner (Don) Garber will tell you, there are a lot of cities now chasing those last four franchises. But with your stadium, with this ownership group and with the might and support of the Raiders, you will never have a greater opportunity to have an MLS team.”
MLS has announced plans for another wave of expansion following the addition of Beckham’s Miami franchise, Minnesota, Atlanta and a second Los Angeles team.
However, Miami Beckham United has been hit with multiple issues over the years, including trouble securing land for a stadium. Most recently, talks of potential investment from PSG’s Qatari owners have broken down, leaving the franchise looking for another large investor.
Despite those issues, Beckham played down any thought that he would be involved in a potential Vegas franchise after the city’s mayor Carolyn Goodman jokingly asked him to abandon Miami for it.
"I'm excited about what we're doing in Miami,” Beckham said. “It's something that I'm very committed to, something that as an ambassador of the league now, as an owner of a franchise that is going to be very special for the people of Miami, I'm excited. I'm excited for the chance of an MLS team to be able to come to Vegas, it's special."