Ares Management makes $150M play for David Beckham’s Miami soccer venture

Deal came as Marcelo Claure, Masayoshi Son sold their stake to Beckham, Mas brothers

Ares Management co-founders Michael Aroughet and Antony Ressler with David Beckham and a rendering of the project (Getty, Freedom Park)
Ares Management co-founders Michael Aroughet and Antony Ressler with David Beckham and a rendering of the project (Getty, Freedom Park)

David Beckham’s Major League Soccer venture in Miami now counts a real estate heavy hitter among its backers.

Los Angeles-based Ares Management, through funds managed by its Credit Group, made a $150 million preferred equity investment in Inter Miami CF, according to an Ares news release.

Ares, led by co-founder and CEO Michael Arougheti, is a global alternative investment manager with roughly $262 billion of assets under management, including its purchase of Black Creek Group in July. Its lines of business include credit, private equity and real estate. Its real estate group had $33.4 billion of assets under management as of June, according to its website.

Ares’ play on the soccer group comes as two others ended their stake in the club. SoftBank’s Marcelo Claure and Masayoshi Son sold their ownership interest to Beckham, as well as to brothers Jorge and Jose Mas, Inter Miami said on Friday in a separate release.

Jorge Mas, Inter Miami’s managing owner, also is chair of Coral Gables-based infrastructure engineering and construction firm MasTec. Claure and Son are also both executives of Sprint, and Claure also is executive chair of WeWork.

In a Twitter post, Claure said his push to bring MLS to Miami started in 2009, a goal that has been reached. “It’s time to move on and let others carry on the mission,” he added.

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The shift in Inter Miami’s investors is the latest in a roughly decade-long push to bring MLS to Miami as well as develop a 25,000-square-foot stadium and massive real estate complex near Miami International Airport.

Although Inter Miami was founded in 2018 and played its first game in the 2020 season, it still has not built its Miami Freedom Park. The team has been playing at its temporary home, the 19,000-seat DRV PNK Stadium it built over the old Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

The plan is for Miami Freedom Park to replace city-owned Melreese golf course at 1802 Northwest 37th Avenue. Aside from the stadium, the development is to include an office complex, retail, hotel and 58-acre park with public soccer fields.

The proposal has proved controversial as it gives Beckham’s group rights to a no-bid deal for city property. Still, voters in 2018 approved for the city to negotiate a 99-year lease with the soccer group. Inter Miami and city officials said this summer they are close to coming to terms on a lease but a final agreement is yet to be announced.