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David Beckham, one of the biggest names in soccer and a part owner of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami — commonly called Inter Miami CF — believes Las Vegas is an ideal city for Major League Soccer (MLS) to consider expansion.
Speaking recently with Bloomberg, the 48-year-old former Manchester United, Real Madrid, and LA Galaxy star and the husband to Victoria Beckham said Southern Nevada makes sense for MLS. Beckham said the success of the NHL Vegas Golden Knights, which have been strongly embraced by locals and went to the Stanley Cup in just their second year and won it in their fifth season, shows there’s an appetite for home team sports.
It’s a real opportunity. We’ve seen the hockey team come in and do incredibly well,” Beckham said while in town during the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
“F1 coming here is a huge statement,” Beckham continued. “People are always going to have fun in Vegas, but for it to become a big sporting market, I think F1’s an important step.”
Beckham partnered with Miami billionaire Jorge Mas, whose wealth was created through his construction and engineering company, for his Miami MLS team. The league awarded Beckham and Mas an expansion team in early 2018.
The days of Las Vegas being mostly about gambling are long gone. Along with conventions, entertainment, and an assortment of family-friendly attractions, Southern Nevada has in recent years transformed into a major sports town.
The NHL expanded its league to Las Vegas in 2017 with the Golden Knights. That coincided with the WNBA San Antonio Stars relocating to Las Vegas to become the Aces ahead of their 2018 season.
NFL owners approved the relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas in March 2017. Raiders owner Mark Davis, with $750 million in city tax revenue, then built the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium just west of the Strip near Mandalay Bay.
The Raiders played their first season in Las Vegas amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21. While Las Vegas has strongly embraced the Golden Knights, and to a lesser degree, the Aces, the Raiders have struggled to catch on.
The Raiders are 24-26 since moving to Las Vegas. They’ve made the playoffs only once.
Paired with poor play and several off-field player incidents, most notoriously wide receiver Henry Ruggs III being convicted of DUI vehicular manslaughter for a Nov. 2, 2021, crash that killed a 23-year-old woman and her dog, and many Las Vegas locals have refrained from backing the Silver and Black.
Allegiant Stadium is often filled with more fans of the visiting team than the Raiders. Attendance overall is poor, as Allegiant ranks 30th of the 32 NFL stadiums in total attendance.
Though the Raiders haven’t exactly caught on in Las Vegas, that didn’t stop the MLB Oakland A’s from following them to Nevada. MLB owners earlier this month approved the team’s request to relocate to Las Vegas. The team will build an MLB stadium where the Tropicana currently stands.
MLS Rumors Persist
Beckham isn’t the first MLS official to express support for a Las Vegas franchise. In late 2021, MLS Commissioner Doon Garber said while fielding questions after his State of the League address that Las Vegas is attractive.
We’re excited about the market,” Garber said of Las Vegas. “I’m blown away by what’s going on in Las Vegas, and I’ve been in the sports business world for a really long time.”
Las Vegas is already home to a professional soccer club, though the Las Vegas Lights FC play in the USL Championship league.
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