*Miami Heat star LeBron James confirmed Monday he’s in discussions with soccer icon David Beckham to potentially bring an MLS franchise back to South Florida, reports ESPN.
James already has an ownership stake with Liverpool of the English Premier League, and he has followed the sport closely during his time off from the NBA season.
Beckham, who recently retired, had been exploring the idea of running his own MLS franchise for the past few months.
“There’s some interest in both sides,” James said Monday of his talks with Beckham, who has attended several Miami Heat games in recent seasons. “David has become a good friend of mine over the last few years, and I think it would be great for this city to have a football club for sure.”
The MLS had a franchise in South Florida from 1998-2001, but the Fusion folded after playing in Ft. Lauderdale. James insisted Monday that the discussions are preliminary and haven’t advanced past the “some open dialogues.”
“The research is still being made out, but I think it can be huge,” said James, a four-time league MVP and two-time champion. “But you never know. I think this is a great town for soccer. There are a lot of soccer players here. There is a lot of great youth soccer here.”
James said his interest in the sport has grown in the two years since he secured a business partnership with Fenway Sports Group to purchase the team in Liverpool. James spent time in England touring the team’s facilities and meeting with players after he won his first NBA championship with the Heat in 2012.
If James and Beckham reach agreement on the MLS team, it would be the latest of several business ventures James is attached to in South Florida. He already owns a sports apparel store in a suburban Miami mall, and his wife, Savannah, is set to open a juice bar near the couple’s home in Coconut Grove.