Everyone knows LeBron James is a business man. Whether he’s on the court knocking down jump shots, campaigning for a big endorsement, or doing photo-shoots for his latest sneaker, at the end of the day, it’s all about business. The 2x NBA champion is gradually heading toward record-breaking numbers as one of the richest athletes of his time, venturing out into even more financial sectors. It’s almost safe to say he’s the Michael Jordan of his era, based on his financial portfolio thus far, and it looks as though he’s definitely not done yet.
Now, the 4x NBA MVP has set his sites on yet another potentially profitable venture. However, this time around he won’t be alone in his endeavors. According to CBS Sports, the Miami Heat star forward is in talks with soccer veteran David Beckham. The two have been discussing the development of a Major League Soccer franchise in the city of Miami. For those who don’t know, “King James” already has ownership shares in the English Premier League’s Liverpool FC, so his decision would actually be another calculated business move.
According to CBS Local Miami, on Monday, James declared his interest in exploring an MLS partnership with Beckham in an effort to place a franchise in Miami. Beckham has also been surveying the market in search of a location for a new team. Beckham hopes to have a definitive plan in place by the end of the year. It was also reported that Beckham has sought out Miami. He visited both Marlins Park and FIU’s football stadium. The two venues are being taken into consideration as temporary locations for the new soccer team. If Beckham seals the deal with Miami, MLS officials will want to acquire city/county/ownership to develop a soccer-only stadium infrastructure.
Forbes reports that James would be partaking in the partnership as an investor. Beckham currently has the right to purchase an MLS expansion team for a discounted price of $25 million. While some definitely may not see $25 million as a discount, it actually is based on the price tag for the last move of a MLS team. The Columbus Crew, which was sold by the Hunt Sports Group just months ago in August, cost a staggering $68 million to move. Beckham’s price tag comes as part of a previous contract deal in which he agreed to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
If James decides to move forward with the investment, he stands to make a sizable profit based on the investment and return probability of that $25 million. Not to mention, the MLS television contracts with NBC, ESPN, and Univision are set to expire at the end of next year. Due to high, competitive demand for live sports coverage and programing, the MLS could actually garner more than an estimated $28 million annually just from the three networks alone. Therefore, the turnaround on the investment is projected to occur rather quickly.
While the ‘MLS-in-Miami’ concept failed the first time around, James and Beckham’s notoriety may greatly increase the chances of success for the idea this time around.