MLS Expansion: Italian Financier Entering Miami Race

MLS Expansion: Italian Financier Entering Miami Race

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 2, 2013
  • Features, Miami Expansion, MLS Expansion


Just when things started to sound good for the David Beckham-Marcelo Claure Miami bid, someone had to go and add their name to the discussion. News out of Miami today state that a new party has entered into the MLS Expansion game in South Beach.

The Miami Herald is reporting that London-based investment group led by Italian financier Alessandro Butini made its pitch for MLS official on Tuesday, partnering with the University of Miami School of Architecture to develop ideas for a viable soccer-specific stadium, and launching a website — — to drum up fan interest.

Butini had an exploratory meeting with MLS commissioner Don Garber in New York early this year, and Garber told him a soccer-specific stadium in the right part of the city was paramount for a successful bid. Butini said his plan would include a privately-funded stadium. His partners include Marco Novelli, who has been successful in real estate ventures, and Suzie MacCagnan, a former New York financial advisor who more recently has brokered deals between foreign investment groups and English Premier League clubs.

“Commissioner Garber told me the stadium is the biggest variable, the No. 1 priority, so I am tackling that issue head on,” said Butini, who gave a presentation to UM architecture students and a few local architects Monday. “MLS is looking for an 18,000- to 20,000-seat venue with covering for the fans, good drainage, FIFA compliant, luxury suites and first-class media facilities. I told the UM students we’d be looking at a $70 million budget for a project like this, knowing that it would likely cost closer to $85 million.”

The Beckham bid is said to be using the FIU Stadium as a potential home for their expansion club with no other stadium plan in place.

Like others, Butini sees a stadium in downtown Miami or South Beach as the right location for a MLS expansion team.

So at the moment it appears that there are three groups interested in bringing a MLS expansion team to Miami (that is if you count Miami Dolphin’s owner Steven Ross as a serious bid). Beckham’s group is still in the lead position in terms of winning the bid in this town but don’t sleep on the thought of Butini and his group making a serious run at things.