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David Beckham Can't Find Anywhere To Build His Soccer Stadium In Miami

Illustration for article titled David Beckham Cant Find Anywhere To Build His Soccer Stadium In Miami

In February, Major League Soccer announced David Beckham would buy an expansion franchise to play in Miami for only $25 million, a perk from the contract Beckham signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007. The same day, Beckham revealed that he planned to build a new stadium for the team, funding the $400 million project with private investors. Things have gone less smoothly since then, however, as Beckham hasn't been able to secure a spot to build his team's stadium.


The problem stems from the fact that Beckham's group wants public land for the stadium to be provided by Miami-Dade County, but after being bullied out of millions of dollars in public money by both the Heat and Marlins, Miami isn't interested in bending over backwards for Beckham.


Beckham first lobbied for a site at PortMiami, just east of Downtown Miami on what would have been a beautiful waterfront stadium on Dodge Island. But the proposal was met with stiff feedback from cruise lines and corporations operating on the island, and was formally shot down by the county in May.

After Miami-Dade nixed the port site, Bechham's group turned their attention to the city of Miami. Their next proposal was to fill a boat slip just north of AmericanAirlines Arena, not too far west from the original Dodge Island site. The new proposal also envisioned a waterfront stadium, but was met with environmental concerns over filling the slip and infringing on a nearby park. Miami told Beckham to get lost in June.

Miami-Dade countered by offering Beckham's group land near Marlins Park, located a few miles outside of Downtown Miami in Little Havana. But MLS balked at the site, calling it "spiritually tainted" from the Marlins deal (a.k.a. no one wants to be associated with Jeffrey Loria, especially when it comes to stadiums.)

And now, Beckham's best bet might be Broward County, which is actively wooing Beckham with a variety of potential sites. But Broward is far north of Miami, and is the place you're thinking of when you think of "old people who don't give a fuck" in South Florida.


On one hand, it's heartening to see a city stand up and resist the will of a major sports franchise, but that characterization of the back-and-forth with Beckham is probably giving Miami too much credit. Beckham has promised to build the stadium with private funds, after all, and he was even willing to pay the city $2 million in annual rent—twice what the Miami Heat pay—while negotiating the Dodge Island deal. It's easy to standup to a bottom-tier sports franchise, but Miami has proven itself more than willing to roll over when the Heat or Marlins come looking for handouts.

The real bummer of this is that Miami is a city where an MLS team might actually be able to thrive. The Miami Fusion folded in 2001 after playing their games in Fort Lauderdale, but the Miami area was consistently in the top-10 for World Cup viewership, and is viewed as an untapped market for soccer success.


Beckham will be fine, though. If things don't work out in Miami, he may just drop the whole thing and up fleeing to L.A., as Yahoo Sports reported earlier this month.

[Miami Herald]

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