- Alex Rizo
- David Beckham
- department of highway safety and motor vehicles
- HB 67
- House Bill 67
- Inter Miami
- Inter Miami CF
- Inter Miami CF Foundation Corporation
- license plate
- license plates
- Major League Soccer
- manny diaz
- orlando city
- Orlando City Soccer Club
- Orlando Pride
- Specialty license plate
- specialty license plates
- specialty plate
Inter Miami soccer fans might soon be able to pre-order a specialty license plate showing their appreciation for their local club.
Inter Miami CF became Florida’s newest professional sports team when the team played its first season in Major League Soccer in 2020. It’s currently the only top level men’s team without a plate or one in the works, but that could change next year.
Hialeah Republican Rep. Alex Rizo filed a bill (HB 67) last week to add the team to the state’s expansive roster of specialty plates. Annual use fees for the plate would go to Inter Miami CF Foundation Corporation, the team’s nonprofit, to plan sports-based development and community programs.
An approved design would likely bear the team’s colors — black, pink and white — and could sport its logo with two white herons. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles would send the plates to print if 3,000 people get presale vouchers.
Inter Miami’s roster includes all-star midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro. But the face of the team is president, co-owner and former professional player David Beckham, who was a star midfielder for teams including Manchester United, Real Madrid and the LA Galaxy before helping found Inter Miami.
Lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to add the team to the list of specialty plates during the 2021 Legislative Session. Early drafts of this year’s specialty plates bill included the Inter Miami CF plate after Hialeah Republican Sen. Manny Díaz proposed the idea. However, it was removed before the final version earned Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ signature.
According to legislative staff analysis of drafts of the 2021 proposal, Inter Miami CF Foundation Corporation uses “the game of soccer as a catalyst for positive change in the South Florida community.” It focuses on education, inclusion and wellness for kids and young adults in underserved communities.
Ten percent of annual fees from the plate’s annual fees could go to advertising the plate while the remaining funds would be saved for the nonprofit’s community outreach.
The foundation is included in Beckham’s personal website in an empty page under “philanthropy.”
Inter Miami’s inaugural season wasn’t an ordinary one because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the team has an average home game attendance of 12,962 for the ongoing 2021 season, placing it near the middle of MLS team attendance according to Soccer Stadium Digest.
Only teams in the nation’s Big Four sports leagues — Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League — currently have approved plate designs.
Orlando City Soccer Club, which played its first MLS game in 2015, earned the rights to a specialty plate in 2020, when lawmakers added the club and dozens of other organizations to the list of groups with specialty plates. The plate has until Oct. 16, 2022, to garner the 3,000 presales needed for the state to start printing the plate before it gets scrapped. Orlando City’s plate currently has 427 pledges in almost a year of presales.
The Miami Heat’s plate is the Sunshine State’s most popular professional sports specialty plate, and one of its most popular plates overall. More than 57,000 Miami Heat plates were on the road as of June.
Florida’s lone women’s professional sports team, the Orlando Pride soccer team, also doesn’t have a plate. The team played its first National Women’s Soccer League game in 2016.
Disney license plates officially became available Friday, blowing past 10,000 presales in less than a year. That already makes the design more popular than the Jacksonville Jaguars plate.
If approved during next year’s Legislative Session, people could start reserving Inter Miami plates that October.
Committee meetings for the 2022 Session will begin the week of Sept. 20. The 60-day Legislative Session will start Jan. 11.