Last week I stated for Beckham’s Miami MLS dream to work he must cater to a largely Hispanic audience. But the potential addition of LeBron James to the ownership group changes this equation substantially.
James has mainstream credibility among an American sporting audience, English language dominant sports journalists and mainstream media in the country. Last week I articulated that it would be more important for the new Miami team to get Spanish language dominant journalists and fans on the teams’ side. Part of this thought was due to the hostility towards Miami, demonstrated time and again by mainstream sporting press.
The addition of James to an ownership group can help attract interest throughout the country to the new Miami MLS team and solidify its staying power locally. It would force local sports personalities, driven by interest in the NFL and NBA, to pay attention to the team. It would also create a positive environment to elevate the community relations and outreach aspects of what the club can do locally, which ultimately leads to an increase in ticket sales.
The celebrity factor of LeBron James is one thing, but the mainstream acceptance factor is even more important. Not only would his inclusion in an ownership group ensure all of what we have discussed above for the new Miami team, but it would also elevate Major League Soccer as an entity among mainstream American sporting fans.
Beckham’s team should continue down the path of becoming a hyper-local Hispanic team if the James investment does not work out. But if he does invest, it is a game changer, allowing the team to potentially become a South Florida institution that appeals to fans throughout the region and works to build bridges between different segments of the community. LeBron James profile is that large in the area and his involvement would be that critical.