Football can be number one sport in America, says David Beckham's agent


Media mogul Simon Fuller has insisted football can become the most popular sport in America as he and David Beckham prepare to launch a new club in Miami.

Fuller, Beckham's agent, is part of a consortium with the former England footballer which is planning to start a new team in Major League Soccer (MLS).

He negotiated a deal when Beckham joined LA Galaxy in 2007 which featured an option for the ex-Manchester United star to buy a future MLS franchise for 25 million dollars (£17 million), which he exercised in 2014.

Speaking at the Business Innovation Awards in Los Angeles, Fuller said: "My feeling, and I shared this with David, was if we truly believe in soccer in America then we have to be a part of it. So this deal can't just be - pay us lots of money. We need to be part of the legacy of this new league.

"Part of the negotiation was that they would give us a franchise of our choice. The franchise we chose way back was Miami and we now own the Miami soccer franchise and in the coming years we'll be developing it and hopefully, in decades to come, that will be America's number one sports franchise.

"In time, I'm confident and I believe soccer will become certainly the number two sport, maybe ... at one time in the future, even the number one."

Fuller, who has earned millions of pounds creating television shows such as American Idol and managing a host of musicians and sport stars, also revealed his plans to "reinvent the entertainment industry".

Speaking on stage to TV producer Nigel Lythgoe, he said: "I'm drawn very much to virtual reality. I think there's something incredible. I think we can reinvent the entertainment business as we know through virtual reality. It applies to almost everything.

"For me, as a creator, it affords me the opportunity to rethink things in exciting ways. Whether that's with new artists or famous artists. I'm lucky enough to have the digital rights to Elvis Presley."

Fuller said he was also working on a project with "one of the greatest designers of all time" from Paris - who he refused to name - and with the BBC on a new television series based in Africa's Serengeti.

"One of my personal loves is animals," he said. "That's an interesting show. That's coming up in 2017/2018."

Fuller was named entrepreneur of the year at the awards ceremony staged at the InterContinental hotel.