The Major League Soccer secondary transfer window opens today, Tuesday, July 9 and runs through August 7, 2019. Clubs are now permitted to register new signings.
Pursuant to FIFA regulations, in order to complete a signing, loan or transfer, an MLS club must request an International Transfer Certificate (“ITC”) from the national association where the player was last registered. For example, a player being transferred from Real Betis to an MLS side would need an ITC issued by the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF). This is known as the International Clearance Process. (See more at kennethrusso.com/fifa-regulations-on-the-transfer-of-players/)
A team may have negotiated and completed a deal prior to the transfer window; receipt of a player’s ITC is required in order to add a player to the official roster and for that player to be eligible to play in competitive matches.
A number of deals have already been completed leading up to the window. Deals completed
Intra-League Trades Also Open
Coinciding with the opening of the transfer window, the trade window within MLS for players once again is open, and runs until August 8th.
As a reminder, trades for non-player assets, including international roster slots, allocation money, allocation order slots and MLS SuperDraft picks, can take place any time and are not restricted by the transfer window periods.
Roster Freeze On The Horizon.
The 2019 Roster Freeze Date is August 30, 2019, at which time clubs must submit their final 30-man roster. Rosters cannot be changed from that date through the day after MLS Cup.
A report broadcast today by Radio La Red AM 910 in Buenos Aires (Twitter @radiolared) states that Argentine club Estudiantes De La Plata are close to reaching an agreement with Inter Miami CF that will bring winger Matías Pellegrini to the new MLS club.
The deal is reportedly for $10 million USD. Pellegrini would leave Estudiantes in February 2020 in time to join the Rosa y Negra for their debut in MLS in March 2020. Club Estudiantes de La Plata would also receive 10 percent of any future transfer of the player by Inter Miami.
Neither club has made any comment about the alleged deal. This is the second reported transfer of a player to Inter Miami. Last Friday, TyC Sports reported that Inter Miami and Club Atlético Banfield had reached a deal for Julián Carranza.
Pellegrini, who turned 19 on March 11th, is a native of Magdalena, Argentina. His primary positions are as a left winger and centre forward. He was promoted to the first team in August 2018, having been part of Estudiantes’ reserve (U20) squad prior to that. His first goal as a professional cane against Boca Juniors. He has made 15 appearances for Estudiantes this season, with three goals and one assist. He has logged 1,053 minutes across all competitions (903’ in Primera División and 150’ in the Copa Libertadores).
If true, and if the report from last Friday concerning attacker Julián Carranza’s transfer from CA Banfield is also accurate, then Inter will have spent $16 million USD to bring two young, talented and promising players from Argentina to Inter Miami. It’s a pretty strong statement about the club’s desire to make an immediate impact in MLS during the first season. It also mirrors the types of moves Sporting Director Paul McDonough made in his previous role with Atlanta United FC.
While there is no confirmation either of this transaction or Carranza’s, it is relevant to note that the summer transfer window in Argentina runs from July 3 to Sept. 24, 2019. Also, for MLS, the secondary transfer window is from July 9 to Aug. 7, 2019, and any deal, even if already agreed to, would generally not be announced until the window is open.
Here are clips from a recent game Pellegrini played for Estudiantes against Racing and a longer video featuring some of the player’s highlights from this season:
Update: Friday, July 12, 2019: Argentine sports media outlet TyC Sports continues to report that Pellegrini’s signing could be announced quickly and that the deal includes performance objectives that, if met, could make the deal worth $13 million dollars to Estudiantes de la Plata.
According to Argentine Sports Network TyCSports, Inter Miami have agreed on a $6 Million USD deal with Club Atlético Banfield for striker Julián Carranza. The 19-year-old will join the Rosa y Negra for the 2020 season. If true, this would make him the first signing by the new Miami side. There has been no official word from Inter Miami as of the time of this writing.
The deal reportedly includes additional compensation to be paid by Inter should Carranza meet certain performance bonuses. Also included is a ten percent sell-on clause in the event of a future transfer.
There has been much anticipation that Inter Miami were close to making a first signing announcement. In recent weeks. seemingly every well-known player at the end of his contract or being discussed as a transfer target has been linked with Inter Miami. However, something about this report seems more likely to be true, considering Sporting Director Paul McDonough’s history in building the roster of Atlanta United FC, and insights he has shared regarding the anticipated presence of South American players on the Inter Miami roster. McDonough’s building of the Atlanta United roster set the trend for big money signings of both established players (ex. Pity Martinez) and young players with great potential (ex. Ezequiel Barco) from Argentina.
According to sources, Italian Serie A side Genoa were targeting Carranza, having also been in Argentina and negotiating to sign Pedro De La Vega from Lanús.
Here is a video from Youtube that shows some clips from Carranza’s 2018-2019 season with Banfield.
Carranza, who turned 19 in May, is in his second season as a professional. He joined the senior squad of Banfield in 2017. Since then, he has made 29 career appearances for them, scoring 8 goals. He has logged 1,871 minutes across all competitions. Carranza featured in two matches for the Argentina U17 team at the 2017 South American Championship in Chile, and has also trained with the U20 team.
Prior to playing as a professional with El Taladro, Carranza came through Banfield’s academy system. He would join Inter Miami at the end of 2019 in order to be ready for the Rosa y Negra’s inaugural season in MLS in March 2020.
In a joint press release Thursday, Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami and Elevate Sports Ventures (“Elevate”) have announced an agreement whereby Elevate will serve as the Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team’s premium sales agency. With an emphasis on premium, season and individual ticket sales strategy, servicing and hospitality, Elevate will support Inter Miami’s inaugural home season schedule.
Al Guido, Chief Executive Officer of Elevate Sports Ventures, described Inter Miami as one of the most dynamic ownership groups, innovative management teams and promising soccer clubs in the world today. He added: “The Inter Miami CF brand is poised to become a powerhouse on the world stage and a dominant team in the South Florida market. We are confident that South Florida’s communities, fans and businesses will rally around this exciting new franchise, mirroring captivation around the globe. We are thrilled to add Inter Miami CF to Elevate’s growing roster of diverse, global clients, brands and teams.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Elevate as we launch our inaugural MLS campaign in 2020,” said Jurgen Mainka, Chief Business Officer of Inter Miami CF. “The market knowledge, resources and innovative processes they bring to the table will help us engage and connect with the dynamically diverse communities we proudly represent in South Florida and around the world.”
Today’s news comes as Inter Miami began accepting season ticket deposits earlier this month for priority access to season tickets for its inaugural season in March 2020. (Deposits are still being taken at intermiamicf.com.)
Elevate will leverage the best-in-class expertise and resources from its dynamic roster of founding partners to support the sales and marketing efforts for Inter Miami CF. Fueled by unparalleled understanding of CRM and database management, analytics and data-driven fan insights and award-winning ticket sales techniques, Elevate will implement a market and team-specific strategy for the new, highly anticipated MLS franchise.
Inter Miami CF is the 25th club in Major League Soccer. The club aims to leverage Miami’s international population:
“Inter Miami CF will celebrate all that makes Miami extraordinary. We will be multilingual and omnicultural. We will harness the city’s great history and unmatched culture to create new traditions, rituals, and symbols that are admired around the world. We will bring world class fútbol to this world class city, once and for all. Fútbol that is as creative, exciting, unique, and multicultural as we are. Fútbol that makes people everywhere wish they could be here.”
Elevate Sports Ventures has a stated goal of “taking entertainment to new heights.” They are a sports and entertainment consulting firm that offers proven, innovative solutions to organisations across the global sports and entertainment landscape. Elevate has extensive resources, relationships, and calls on the expertise of its partners to innovate and execute comprehensive strategies and solutions in the following areas: venue renovations, sales and marketing, stadium licenses, premium ticketing, corporate hospitality, customer research, strategy and analytics, sales training, and more.
New Company Formed in 2018
Elevate was founded in 2018, as a partnership between the San Francisco 49ers and Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE). Elevate welcomed Oak View Group (OVG) and Ticketmaster and Live Nation as partners in June 2018. The new company distinguishes itseld as a “world-class premium services company” focused on project transformation, execution, and sales and marketing dynamics for teams, venues and leagues. They can deliver an array of services including market research, corporate hospitality and CRM optimisation.
Their executive team is steeped in industry experience, with partners that include Al Guido (President of the San Francisco 49ers), Scott O’Neil (CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment), Tim Leiweke (CEO of Oak View Group) and Jared Smith (Executive Vice President of Live Nation and President of Ticketmaster). In September 2018, Elevate launched Elevate On Campus, with the goal of supporting ticket sales, strategy and service in intercollegiate athletics and university venues. Their university clients include the University of Kentucky.
O’Neil, the Co-Managing Partner of Elevate Sports Ventures, in an interview in 2018, stressed the experience and talents that the company possesses.
“We understand the importance and diligence it takes to manage big brands, because we manage some of the biggest sports and entertainment brands in the world,” O’Neil said. “For sports properties, venues and teams seeking a true partner, who understands the needs and challenges of an operator and has a proven record of maximising monetization, Elevate Sports Ventures offers innovative and individualised solutions. The size and scope of the deals that this group of executives has generated and projects they’ve undertaken is unmatched by any one organisation in the space today.”
The Miami City Commissioners passed RE14, the resolution to appoint legal consultants to assist in the Miami Freedom Park lease negotiations, by a 4-1 vote. The lone ‘no’ was Manolo Reyes, who once again was argumentative and openly dismissive and hostile to the plan. Furthermore, the resolution was amended such that the city attorney will have the final say on which of 3 law firm(s) to work with. (Original article follows)
With Public Mandate secured in last November’s election, Miami Freedom Park moves on to the negotiation stage.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 – Kenneth Russo
The Miami City Commission will decide on a resolution at the City Commissioners Meeting scheduled for this Thursday, May 23, 2019.
The resolution reads as follows:
A RESOLUTION OF THE MIAMI CITY COMMISSION AUTHORIZING THE RETENTION OF _______________________ AS LEGAL CONSULTANTS TO WORK IN CONSULTATION WITH THE CITY ATTORNEY AND TO PROVIDE SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTISE ON NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE CITY OF MIAMI AND FREEDOM PARK LLC; FURTHER AUTHORIZING THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS FOR SAID PURPOSE; ALLOCATING FUNDS FROM THE NON-DEPARTMENTAL LEGAL SERVICES ACCOUNT NO. 00001.980000.531010.0000.00000.
With approval by over 60% of Voters on November 6, 2018, the referendum for an amendment to Section 29-B of the Charter of the City of Miami allows the City Commission to negotiate and execute a 99 year lease with Miami Freedom Park, LLC. Approximately 73 acres of the land will be used for the Soccer Stadium project (includes 1,000,000 square feet of office, retail, entertainment and commercial uses, 750 hotel rooms, public soccer fields) and approximately 58 acres for Miami Freedom Park, a new public park. The stadium will become the permanent home of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami. It is expected to have around 25,000 seats and be ready for the 2022 MLS season.
Two Legal Consultants Under Consideration by City
One of the firms being considered is actually a partnership of two law firms with relevant experience: Fowler, White, Burnett and O’Melveny & Myers, LLP.
Fowler is headquartered in Miami and has additional offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. In a document filed in support of their appointment, Fowler lists the following leasing-related services it can provide to clients:
Rent escalation clauses
Leasing brokerage agreements and issues
Ground-lease transactions both for new developments and existing buildings
Major sale and leasebacks transactions
Creative tenant-equity leases
Reciprocal lease agreements
Property management agreements
O’Melveny’s legal expertise in stadium development issues is well known in the legal field. Alliance partner Irwin Raij, Esq. a partner at O’Melveny, has extensive sporting and stadium experience, which includes advising Phoenix Rising FC in connection with its MLS Expansion bid and related new stadium construction. Additionally, Attorney Raij has advised Palace Entertainment in connection with its bid for an MLS expansion team in Detroit. Charles Baker, Esq. is Co-Chair of O’Melveny’s Sports Industry Practice Group and has been involved in a number of purchases and sales of sports franchises as well as private equity, and venture capital transactions, with a core focus in the sports, media and consumer sectors.
O’Melveny has also represented the developer of Dignity Health Sports Park (f/k/a Stubhub Center) the home stadium of the Los Angeles Galaxy, and served as counsel to Major League Baseball in the negotiations for Marlins Park. The firm also has naming rights experience and has worked on public-private partnerships.
The other law firm being considered by the City is Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP (“BCP”). This firm boasts 1,400 lawyers in 31 offices across North America (including Miami), Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm’s response to the City states that: “We are among the most active law firms in the world in handling significant stadium developments and financing , as well as naming rights and sponsorship transactions. We have the expertise to handle all aspects of these projects, having served as lead counsel in connection with a number of high profile event venue projects across the United States and abroad, including the Staples Center, The 02 Arena (London), The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas NHL), the Dignity Health Sports Park (f/k/a StubHub Center) and many others.”
With regard to the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, BCP served as lead counsel to the developer, handling all aspects of the project, from real estate to naming and sponsorship rights. The firm represented the City of Jacksonville in its negotiations with the NFL Jaguars on a lease renegotiation, and has advised on two MLS stadiums: Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ and Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL.
What effect does this have on the Miami Freedom Park project?
I believe this is a positive development. The Commissioners know that the voters have approved this so the idea of Miami Freedom Park and Soccer Village has a public mandate. Thwarting the will of the people after a public vote is clearly not in their best interests. They obviously also have a responsibility to obtain the best result for the City. Having legal counsel with experience in these types of projects should produce a lease that is fair to both the city and Miami Freedom Park, LLC. The balancing act will be to not make the deal so one-sided in the City’s favour that an agreed upon lease becomes economically impractical from Miami Freedom Park’s perspective. But firms like this are highly skilled and their goal will be to succeed, i.e. produce a lease that is mutually acceptable.
It is entirely conceivable that the final lease produced by this process receives unanimous support of the City Commission.
Miami Freedom Park and Soccer Village 2018 Promotional Video, courtesy of Inter Miami CF:
Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami Managing Owner was interviewed on Friday May 9, 2019 by CBS 4’s Mike Cugno. The interview appeared yesterday on CBS 4 Sports Desk. Here’s what the always enthusiastic Mas had to say about the club’s progress and projections for its roster for the inaugural season in 2020.
“Demolition Day” paid tribute to the past while remaining squarely focused on the future of “fútbol” in South Florida.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Wednesday May 8, 2019)
A South Florida morning at its finest – bright, sunny skies, light breezes and warm temperatures – provided the perfect backdrop to an official ceremony by Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami to mark the beginning of the transformation of Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The site will be the permanent home of the Inter Academy, the club Training Centre, and home of its USL affiliated club. A new 18,000 seat stadium will be built as part of a park with a soccer focus. In addition to being home for the yet-to-be-named USL club, the stadium will be the temporary home for Inter Miami CF during its first two seasons in Major League Soccer, before moving to Miami Freedom Park once it is ready.
Television personality and fútbol commentator Fernando Fiore was the host of the ceremony and was his vibrant and humorous self. He recalled his many visits to Lockhart Stadium over the years, and called it a “pleasure” to return. He pulled out his ticket to the inaugural Miami Fusion game from Sunday, March 15, 1998 – Section 3, Row 15, Seat 98. “Please Jorge, make sure I have a seat by that one when we open the new one,” he joked.
Supporters of the new club were also very visible, with all three of the official Inter Miami Supporters Groups on hand: Vice City 1896, Southern Legion and The Siege. They sang, waved flags, banged drums, and set off the ubiquitous Inter Miami pink smoke into the air, announcing their presence and laying claim to the site.
Inter Miami CF Managing Owner Jorge Mas was one of the speakers at the event. Charismatic as always, he wanted to stress what the project stands for:
I had the chance to ask Ray Hudson, a legend of soccer here, who played for the original Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and later managed the MLS Miami Fusion, as well as enjoying success as an announcer for BeIn Sports. He told me he’s on board and called it a sign of progress. He also added to TV reporters:
Among politicians on hand was Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. During his speech addressing the attendees, he said: “This is truly a historic day for the city of Fort Lauderdale as we come together to kick off a visionary project that will completely transform the 64-acre site and have a lasting impact on our community for generations to come,” Trantalis added: “Our partnership with Miami Beckham United and Inter Miami CF represents a new and exciting chapter in the history of this storied property. One that will bring $60 million in upgrades and improvements including a new professional soccer stadium, training facilities, team offices, a youth soccer academy, multi-purpose community athletic fields, and a major public park.”
Looking Ahead: Images of the new Lockhart Park (courtesy of Inter Miami CF and Manika)
Season Ticket Deposit Campaign Begins
Yesterday also saw the opening day for fans to begin placing deposits on season tickets for the inaugural season in 2020. Links are available on Inter Miami social media channels, or online at www.InterMiamiCF.com. Fans can also affiliate with a supporters group, thereby gaining the ability to receive a special rate on season ticket deposits in the supporters section of the stadium as well as other benefits. More details are available on each of the social media accounts of the supporters groups.