LeBron James In Talks With David Beckham Over Possible Miami MLS Team
Basketball superstar LeBron James has confirmed that he is in talks with David Beckham about investing in the former England captain’s planned Miami MLS franchise. James, 28, won back-to-back NBA titles in Miami with the Heat and his consideration comes from the belief that a football team would be very popular in the city.
“David has become a good friend of mine. There’s interest on both sides” he told South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Beckham, 38, has the right to buy an expansion MLS team for a discounted price of just $25 million as part of his previous contract to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy. An investment in a Miami expansion team at a $25 million valuation would mean James is getting a huge discount. Also, all three MLS television deals expire at the end of 2014 and given the competition for live sports programming the league will reap considerably more than the $28 million a year it currently averages from the three networks.
It’s no surprise LeBron James and Jay Z are such good friends because as influential an entrepreneur Jay is to his Hip-Hop peers, LeBron is as much the equivalent in the NBA. Aside from his lucrative sponsorship deals, such as Nike, LeBron is quite the businessman.
New information for me was the revelation that this wouldn’t be his first dabble into sports investment. LeBron already has a minority stake in the Premier League at Liverpool Football Club as part of a partnership with the club’s owners Fenway Sports Group. FSG paid $476 million for Liverpool in 2010 and this April Forbes valued them at $651 million.
“I think this is a great town for soccer,” James said of Beckham’s preferred base for his team. “There’s a lot of soccer players, there’s great youth soccer players here and people love the city as well. That definitely would help.” James added that he had learned more about football since becoming associated with Liverpool. “I’ve grown to the point where I know exactly what’s going on when I’m watching the game,” he said.
Although the MLS has previously failed with Florida based franchises, with the assistance of star power like LeBron and Beckham, coupled with the league’s next television deal, the next incarnation in Miami should make a winning investment, especially given the discounted expansion fee!
Lakeem Greaves (@iamLAKZ)