On February 5, Major League Soccer announced something which had been rumored for quite some time: international soccer icon David Beckham is going to bring a new soccer club to Miami.
But wait, didn’t there used to be an MLS club in Miami? Indeed there was. The Miami Fusion was formed in 1997, competed from 1998-2001, and ultimately dissolved in 2001.
After MLS failed once already in Miami, is it possible for the league to have a successful club in south Florida?
My answer is a resounding yes, and here’s why:
Today’s MLS is not the MLS of 1998-2001
When Major League Soccer began its first season in 1996, all 10 clubs had previously paid a franchise fee of $5,000,000 to join the league. Miami paid a steeper price prior to its first season, shelling out $20,000,000 to join the league.
Fast forward to present day to see how much the value of MLS clubs has grown. New York City FC paid $100,000,000 to join the league in May of 2013.
In November of 2013, Forbes released a valuation of MLS clubs around the league. Eleven of 19 are either turning a profit or breaking even, while every single one is valued at $64 million or higher. (Seattle leads the way at $175 million.)
Today’s Miami is not the Miami of 1998-2001
The new Miami club will be located in Miami-Dade County, the seventh-most populous county in the United States. This is a county which has changed dramatically since the Miami Fusion called it home.
In the year 2000, the approximate population of the Miami-Dade County residential area was 2,253,362. The county’s median household income was $23,483.
Fast forward to present day (2012 census) and we see that the approximate population of the county is 2,591,035 (15 percent increase). Even more impressive is the fact that the median household income in the country is $43,464 (85 percent increase).
Not only has the county grown larger, but its average family has seen a significant increase in disposable income. Will that lead to more fans supporting the club financially? Only time will tell, but these facts are promising.
The club may be named Miami Vice
Yep. In the near future, this name may be known for more than just white pants and fighting crime. Take a look at a possible logo and kit design here, courtesy of the Palm Beach Post.
This is Brett Compton’s 315th post for WeFollowFutbol. Find him on Twitter here!