“Miami deserves this” – that’s the message from the group of wealthy backers behind the city’s new football team. Becks needs no introduction, and he’s been joined by five others in masterminding the project, including the former Spice Girls manager and a Japanese entrepreneur.
The former England skipper’s been toiling for four years to reach this point, after getting a taste for stateside soccer at LA Galaxy. And the new team’s already brought a fresh buzz to Miami. Locals can’t wait to see their city take on the country’s elite on the pitch, and Beckham’s keen to make Miami a “global beacon” for the MLS.
The American penchant for acronym-led leagues – the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL – is learning to deal with its newest member, the MLS. But to say football’s not as popular in the USA would be wide of the mark. David Beckham and one of his co-founders, Marcelo Claure, have received the backing of every celebrity worth their salt.
In the sporting world, legendary quarterback Tom Brady, boxer Vladimir Klitschko, tennis star Serena Williams and Olympian Usain Bolt have all thrown their weight behind the project. The Jamaican sprinter even joked that he was the guy to guarantee goals for the new side, while man-mountain Klitschko quipped that he might block fellow punters’ views.
The hype’s gone even further, though, with A-list names welcoming Beckham and Claure to Miami, and predicting big success. Jennifer Lopez, Jay-Z and DJ Khaled have all given their approval, along with Will Smith, who said: “If you need anything, just let me know. That’s my kind of town”.
What happens next, though? Well the team won’t join America’s version of the Premier League until 2020, and they need to find somewhere to play in the meantime. Early mutterings seem to hint at a brand new stadium being built in the Overtown neighbourhood – close to Downtown and just across the water from South Beach.
That would mean mornings chilling on the beach, a quick lunch on the boardwalk, followed by a stint shouting your support for Beckham’s boys. And if ambition’s anything to go by, the ground’s likely to be one of the best-looking buildings in the city. One of the co-founders, Jorge Mas, says he wants it to be the “most technologically advanced, futuristic stadium in the country”. Wembley eat your heart out.
The beautiful game’s not everyone’s idea of fun, so you might be wondering what on earth this means for you. The bottom line is that this goes way deeper than football. Miami’s new team will bring a fresh lease of life to the city, with thousands of travelling fans flocking in every fortnight for games. That means big demand for hotels, restaurants and places to grab a pre-match pitcher.
So, even if you don’t bother with 90 minutes in the stands, you’ll reap the rewards of a city that’s sky-rocketing in the popularity stakes.
The Pestana South Beach Art Deco Hotel captures the essence of Miami’s architectural reputation. It’s five minutes’ walk from the sand, and blends 1930s style with modern touches in the rooms.
With its beachside locale and chilled-out pool, the Riu Plaza Miami Beach ticks off all the Miami must-haves.
Hotels in Miami don’t come much flashier than the . Restaurants run by celebrity chefs, designer-inspired rooms, a chauffeur service – it’s got the lot.
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