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LeBron backing Beckham bid for Miami MLS franchise

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LeBron James, the businessman, is ready to branch out further into a sport other than basketball.

James has made public his desire to help bring an Major League Soccer franchise to the Miami area. Former international and MLS soccer star David Beckham is leading the project, but according to reports, he is looking for financial backing to help with the start-up costs.

Enter James. LeBron already has a stake in English Premier League club Liverpool, and the idea of bringing an MLS team to his own backyard is an intriguing one for the NBA MVP.

"We're working on it," James told SI.com of plans to bring soccer to Miami. "The passion that the fans have about the game of soccer, it's pretty intense. It's pretty awesome."

Beckham's reported cost to start a franchise in the MLS is $25 million, but additional costs exist for signing players and obtaining a venue for home games.

The MLS is slated to expand to 21 teams when new franchises in New York City and Orlando begin play in 2015. In addition to Miami, the league hopes to add a franchise in Atlanta, while Minneapolis, San Antonio, St. Louis, Austin and Sacramento are among cities hoping to lure a 24th MLS franchise.

If James is successful, this wouldn't mark Miami's first MLS venture. From 1998 to 2001, the Miami Fusion F.C. played in the league, but the team was contracted amid the MLS' early financial struggles.

Meanwhile, James and Beckham form a powerful tandem hoping to bring the game back to South Beach. View the video for more information.

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