David Beckham's MLS ownership group has deal to build Miami stadium
David Beckham's investment group reached a tentative agreement on Friday to build a stadium for a new MLS franchise next to Marlins Park in Miami.
Mayor Tomas Regalado announced the news after speaking with Beckham's partner, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, who told the Miami Herald the proposed stadium would seat 25,000 and be privately financed.
"The time is now... This is the moment of truth," Claure told the newspaper.
Regalado said he will now take the deal to city commissioners for approval to begin formal negotiations.
"This is a milestone," the mayor said. "We have the commitment, the real commitment that we never had before from the Beckham group that they do want to play at the Orange Bowl, that they do want to build this stadium, that they do want to partner with the city of Miami,''
In a statement, Beckham United said a video conference held with Regalado on Friday "was another positive step toward bringing a world-class soccer club to Miami."
"We're excited about sharing our plans with the city, county and community soon,'' the statement added.
The next move would be for Beckham and his partners to present a proposal to the city for construction. Beckham had the right to start an MLS franchise after retiring, and chose Miami upon exercising that right.
MLS officials have long said that expanding to Miami is contingent on securing a financing plan and location for a new stadium, so Friday's development means a key hurdle seems to have been cleared.
MLS granted Beckham ownership rights at a discounted rate after he retired from playing in 2013, but the former England star's hopes of starting a new franchise stalled as he struggled to get approval for a stadium.
Friday's agreement is a concession for Beckham's group, which had long preferred a downtown location but was rebuffed by city officials. Sharing Marlins Park itself was also an option last year.
In May, the group had discussed partnering with the University of Miami to build a stadium that would host both soccer and college football, but the school is not part of the current arrangement.
Because of the recent retirement of president Donna Shalala, UM could not move fast enough to take part in the talks, Rafael de Guzman, an associate of Claure's, told the Sun Sentinel, though Beckham's group remains open to a partnership in the future.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.