Report: Beckham considering PortMiami for potential soccer-specific stadium

PortMiami (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

David Beckham’s quest to land a site for a potential soccer-specific stadium in Miami might take him to a place directly on water.

According to a report from the Miami Herald, Beckham is considering building a 25,000-seat stadium for a potential MLS Franchise at PortMiami and has already had his ownership group approach Miami-Dade County to see how feasible it would be to have an expandable stadium built there.

The feedback thus far has not been negative.

“They kind of elevated this site,” deputy mayor Chip Iglesias told the Herald. “We said yes, we’d take a look at it.”

Any stadium built in Miami would be fully funded by Beckham and the rest of the ownership group, which might include Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure and NBA superstar LeBron James. Miami-Dade County could, however, lease the owned land at the port.

A 25-year plan for the debt-laden port envisions its southwest corner (the far end on the left in the photo above) receiving several upgrades through commercial development in order to bring in revenue. The plan could include building a hotel, an office complex and a harbor for mega-yachts that would face downtown’s Bayside Marketplace.

Talks of a stadium at the port are in the early stages, but there are some concerns over parking and traffic at the approximate 25 acres that could be available on the Dodge Island site.

While Beckham’s ownership group is keen on PortMiami, it reportedly also has around 30 other sites it is considering.

Beckham, who reportedly has until the end of the year to claim his discounted expansion rate of $25 million, has visited Miami in recent months to explore potential areas to construct a soccer-specific stadium for an expansion franchise. It seems all but likely that Miami would start out at a temporary stadium, like Marlins Park or FIU Stadium, before building and moving into a permanent home.

Beckham has said he would like his team to start playing in 2016, a year after Orlando City SC begins play in MLS.

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What do you think of Beckham considering building a soccer-specific stadium at PortMiami? Like the idea? Think it would have the nicest backdrop in all of MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Expansion. Bookmark the permalink.

106 Responses to Report: Beckham considering PortMiami for potential soccer-specific stadium

  1. MLSfan says:

    Downtown location = Win

    • James says:

      But perhaps 2 feet above sea level is not such a long-term win. Especially in a storm-prone location.

      • Ian says:

        Excellent point. Any plan would have to include hazard mitigation. Elevating the foundation? Wind resistant architecture? Something like that.

      • oscar says:

        Agreed. When climate change-induced two feet sea level rise is likely to happen within decades, investors should be considering moving out of Miami, Fla. rather than throwing money at a probable dying city starting with the next major hurricane to strike Miami.

        Even if they start putting up buildings, streets, highways and other infrastructure on stilts, they will still have to deal with major water desalination issues, water distribution and flooded sewer systems.

        Throw a sea wall around Miami ? Think again, the land underneath is porous limestone and the sea water will just “percolate underneath the sea wall. The Netherlands solution is a non-starter for all of south Florida.

        • CeezNYRB says:

          DEWM AND GLEWM!

        • Right On says:

          I thought it was “global warming”? Oh, I guess it’s “climate change” now. smh at the low information crowd.

          • Michael says:

            Not sure what the point of your comment is. It’s fairly common that multiple terms describe a single concept.

          • Phill says:

            We say “climate change” because there’s an undeniable trend in weather patterns. “Global warming” is a well-supported theory that aims to define the phenomenon.

          • danny says:

            Right on- I thought Rush fan’s were supposed to hate soccer as some sort of socialist conspiracy… didn’t he even support imposing a ban on soccer in the US? Why are you here?

          • solles says:

            whatever, miami’s been so ridiculously overbuilt in the last 5 years that its all bound to fall into the sea. that place is stupid.

          • bryan says:

            lol at “low information crowd”. outside of Tea Party Republicans, everyone now accepts climate change as reality (including Republicans that don’t identify with the TP). it’s the cause that is up for debate.

        • Rory Miller says:

          Well since the oceans have supposedly raised a total of 6-8 inches in the last 100 years I can see how your prediction of two feet will come true in the 20 or so years that this stadium would be relied upon. Also apparently we aren’t going to make, oh, say, a river wall type structure along the periphery in order to keep back water.

          But in any case, those are excellent reasons to keep us from getting an awesome stadium that would be sort of noteworthy around the world.

          • Joe Timbres says:

            For collapsing and having to be fully rebuilt? Dude, I may not live down there, but building that close to sea level is a recipe for disaster on so many different levels. I hope you can see that, just as I am able to see how it would be amazing and cool to have a stadium in that location on your end.

            • Rory Miller says:

              You’ve seen what places like the UAE have done to build in the water, right? I’m sure hurricanes provide the more immediate threat than slowly rising ocean water, but I see a crap load of multi-million dollar buildings in that picture that are just as at threat of being destroyed.

          • Sam U El says:

            Noteworthy… Like the Pyramids?

          • bryan says:

            well, to be fair, the distance at which glaciers melted from 1900-2000 is equal to the distance from 2000-2010.

            with that said, i’m sure Beckham and his group are well aware of the issues surrounding Miami.

          • oscar says:

            Putting up a sea wall (Netherlands-style) would seem pointless. The geography works against this solution. It is not only Miami that is too low, it is the rest of South Florida. Sure put up a sea wall on the ocean side of the City, the water will simply come in from the Everglades to the west. Or come in under the wall. Maybe if there were a sea wall which covered the entire perimeter of the Miami area and dug into the ground about a half mile deep…

            A useful link all Miamians should read:

            link to rollingstone.com

        • Joamiq says:

          I don’t think the destruction of Miami is a foregone conclusion. Development all along the waterfront continues unabated. I don’t think otherwise savvy businesspeople would sink tons of money into structures that will be underwater shortly.

        • Rocco says:

          For crying out loud.

          Soccer. Blog.

          That said, Holland has figured out how to mitigate waterlevel management and hopefully Miami might have some ability to due the same for their expensive port project. Somehow though I’m sure they will be compelled will to conduct an EIS without the consultation of blog commentariat.

      • whoop-whoop says:

        The entire state is 2ft above sea level.

        • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

          Yup. The entire state is 2ft above……

          Wow, can’t believe no one brought that up for not having a MLS franchise in Florida.

          …..that being said, he would be crazy to build a stadium there.

    • scott47a says:

      I’d encourage SBI readers to take a look at the MLS Miami Bid website or Facebook page, where Southern Legion members have taken to plopping the FIU stadium onto maps of the port to give a better idea where the piece of property is.
      It appears it’s on the other end of the port, closer to the city, and not way down at the end as shown in the photo here.

  2. Rex says:

    Al Gore does not think this is a good location.

    • Naugles says:

      Because he’s not getting a cut of it.

      Global warm…ahem…I mean climate change aside, if you look at a picture of Miami Beach from 1913 and 2013, it is self-evident why a storm would cause significant damage.

      But stadiums are attractive projects for flood plains for this reason.

      • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

        You can call it either, that is alright.

        Glad you think that stadiums are good for flood plains, but if it were my stadium, I would prefer it NOT be in one….especially now.

      • JN West says:

        Love the shade thrown at Al Gore. He’s apparently making a gazillion dollars warning the globe about climate change. Al Gore like other Climate Change advocates are greedy because they want to protect the environment for future generations, but those causing and denying climate change such as oil companies are completely above board with no profit motive behind them.

        The reason the term climate change is now the preferable term rather than global warming is because numbskulls at Fox News use snow storms as a way of denying it’s happening.

        • Ron says:

          Spoken like a true zealot. How DARE someone deny your dogma? Apostates! Apostates!

          What’s next, imam? a fatwa?

        • solles says:

          yeah because as everyone knows there’s SOOO much money in climate change science

        • Joe says:

          yea the oil company head telling us how evil the oil companies are

        • Ted Drews says:

          Whether he is selling his network ahead of tax law changes to increase his take, manipulating backdating of Apple stock while being on the BofD, running his proposed carbon credit market…yes the guy is always interested in what’s in it for him.

          Fox News has nothing to do with the number of scientists who have run away from “global warming” starting with the wrongful use of their names in his polemic piece “Inconvenient Truth.” Fox News only reported the fraud in the scientific data, they did not perpatrate it.

          There is no more muti-varied ecosystem than global climate. That you can control it by isolating one of those variables is a fraud and a hoax of the highest order.

          “Global Warming” is not used any more because the planet is cooling. “Climate Change” keeps the argument going, the way “Diversity” took over for the failed “Afirmative Action.”

          Global cooling, acid rain, hole in the ozone layer, global warming, climage change, viral pandemics

  3. Adam says:

    This actually sounds like a good idea…Im kind of surprised

    • beto says:

      renting land is not the best way to go but this does sound pretty cool. i just looked up the view on google streetview — pretty cool!

  4. midwest ref says:

    Didn’t Portsmouth or Southampton come up with a similar idea, but due to their relegations and money problems, neither has been able to get a coastal stadium off the ground.

  5. mike says:

    lo al citizens word?

  6. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I’m shocked to say…looks cool?

  7. drew says:

    I must say that this saddens me, as huge of a MLS fan that I am. I say this as lover of The Wire (and specifically Season 2).

    • Noah says:

      Don’t worry, Sobotka will put a stop to this!

    • Joamiq says:

      Ha, amusing to think of Beckham as Andy Krawczyk. The cruise business will forever keep Miami’s port from becoming too much like Baltimore’s, so don’t feel too sad. Also, Miami is actually dredging the bay to increase their business, which is what Sobotka was pushing for in Season 2 (and which might possibly be happening now in Baltimore).

  8. Joamiq says:

    Having lived in Miami recently, I was having trouble thinking of a good location for the stadium. This is a crazy awesome idea. I didn’t realize the port was looking to lease space. There would be some inconveniences, but they could probably be dealt with. The only really “local” people there would be the megacelebs who have mansions on nearby Star Island, but I doubt they would really complain much about additional traffic and hustle/bustle. If they do I’m sure Becks can placate them with his charm. Parking and traffic seem like an immediate issue – traffic is pretty much always horrendous in poorly designed Miami – but this port location could open up some awesome possibilities, like parking in a garage in downtown Miami and taking a ferry to the port island. Could be a truly awesome experience. Would be quite a spectacle, for Miami and for MLS.

    • Todd Marsch says:

      I spend part of the year in Miami and agree. Traffic around downtown and the port isn’t that bad at night or on weekends, so this could work in that regard.

      I still might prefer somewhere off the Metro/Metrorail, but I’m entirely sure where that would be. I know property values are going up quickly, but I would think there are still some semi-blighted areas on the edge of new development around downtown that might be affordable.

  9. Ian says:

    “…and a harbor for mega-yachts…” Of course! This has (Victoria) Beckham written all over it.

  10. THomas says:

    Billionaire + Beckham + James + stadium site on the ocean in Miami = success. They keep saying the right things, making the right moves, leaking the right info.

    This location and the people running this team will attract the biggest celebrities, which attract publicity, which will make going to soccer games the ‘cool’ thing to do in Miami when it’s not basketball season.

    All the right moves so far. Keep it up. I’m jealous being in Chicago and what we have here.

    • Neruda says:

      All good except if the team isn’t good which they probably won’t be for the first few years. Celebrities will go to games but what about soccer fans existing and new?

      • Josh D says:

        Beckham has more pull with current soccer stars and youth, both in the US and abroad, than anyone else has ever had in MLS. He could easily assemble a team good enough to compete in its first season. Plus, he has the experience of knowing how MLS works.

        • Rory Miller says:

          The city of Miami itself is a nice enough draw that a star DP could be signed. The fact that it would be Beckham, potentially the DP’s childhood hero doing the asking would make it pretty much a done deal that some notable DP is coming.

      • Joamiq says:

        People I know in Miami, soccer fans and non-soccer fans alike, are pretty jazzed about this. Beckham + LeBron = instant draw for people in Miami. I have a feeling their attendance will be just fine. It won’t be passionate Pac NW type support, but I think they’ll do OK selling tickets.

  11. Neruda says:

    The part about Beckham having until the end of the year to claim his franchise discount is the part that is weird. MLS is going to let Beckham have a team because of the deal they have and not because it actually makes sense like Orlando city. So Beckham is rushing around getting everything he needs for a team banking on the owners star power to give it longevity.

    What do south Florida sports fans say?

  12. Jim says:

    After checking out the location on Google Maps, it really looks like the best solution. There’s an existing 6 lane vehicle bridge connecting the island, and what looks to be a freight rail bridge as well. So the city could kick in some infrastructure improvements and still not be “paying for a stadium.”

    And it’s right next to American Airlines Arena, so sports fans are already used to traveling to that area. Granted, it’s not perfect, and even with improvements traffic would still be tough. But this is the first location I’ve seen discussed that seems like it’d have a real chance of working.

  13. RK says:

    How about the old Miami Herald offices? It was just blown up in Burn Notice.

  14. a says:

    what happens when global warming strikes?
    why not put the arena next to where the Miami Heat play? Win Win

    • Right, all the time says:

      It’s climate change now, get with the program!

      • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

        Holy moly you guys are relentless.

        • Rory Miller says:

          What happens when Santa Clause turns bad and attacks the stadium? What then? Will Al Gore save us?

          • Nick says:

            while it is true that over 90% of scientists that have studied the matter have come to a conclusion in support of human made global warming, over 90% of internet nut jobs have come to the opposite conclusion, so i guess that balances out.

            • danny says:

              It’s a fact that the climate is getting warming. For people who don’t believe that, there is no point in talking with them- the way there is no point in arguing with someone who thinks the Earth is flat. The only “debate” is whether it’s man made and 99% of scientists believe that it is ( at least a major contribution). You skeptics should read Richard Mueller’s work.

            • dude says:

              um go check your sources.. i hate when folks on the internet throw out numbers with out adequatley researching the issue

              • danny says:

                I have checked my sources. Have you?

                But, I do agree that saying x% of all scientists agree is not an exact stat- I should have said that the “vast number of scientists” and “scientific consensus”. Anyways, this isn’t the right forum to lay out the facts. It’s a shame that there’s so much propaganda on the subject and not many scientifically literate people out there.

            • solles says:

              actually the stat is more like effectively 99% of the worlds reputable climate scientists agree global warming is being accelerated by humans compared to almost half of americans who dont believe its happening at all. Americans truly are straight outta the shallow end of the gene pool on the issue.

          • SonicDeathMonkey says:

            He’s already too busy saving us from ManBearPig.

            I’m totally serial.

        • KJ says:

          But humans are evil!!!

  15. automata says:

    I’m into this. All rational logistic discussions aside, I love my Crew and would be happy to travel to an away game down South to tailgate on a boat.

  16. Oshi says:

    The view of downtown Miami from the location is pretty sick. Would definitely trump PPL Park for best stadium vistas.

  17. Michael says:

    Tommy Vercetti is first on the season ticket interest list.

  18. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    100% privately funded stadium to help an entire inrease revenue in an otherwise empty lot? Dade county would be insane not to say yes!

  19. choto says:

    what is Beckham’s fascination with Miami?

    • Nick says:

      Depending on how you measure metro area, it is either the biggest that doesn’t have an MLS team or the 2nd biggest to Atlanta. Like it or not, this is smart business.

    • MiamiAl says:

      It also has the best looking women in the country.

  20. marta in miami says:

    This is brilliant … absolutely brilliant … so brilliant that as Architect for many years in Miami I can’t believe I didn’t think of it! They are building a huge tunnel to the port so it will have two ways to access the land. It is already built up high so forget that sea rise garbage talk! The vista is not in your view shown above… it will be even more awesome! They could even have a march to the match over the bridge maybe. I ran over it in a marathon and was super cool vista plus have been to Salsa Concerts there. It is the second largest Port in USA I think – so it is well built and stable. We have a dediacted loyal fan base of 15,000 aFUSIONados who just formed the @Southern_Legion … see twitter for pic of location in google maps plan view. We are excited to have our beloved Miami Fusion return, and will finish what we started with a Championship!

    • CHUCK says:

      Not even close to being the second biggest port in the US…….not even close.
      Hell, it’s not even the second biggest port in Florida.

    • Luetchy says:

      “World’s Largest Cruise Ship Port” but 56th in cargo volume.

  21. Love it or leave it says:

    Im impressed with the site

    But I would like Miami to set the new curve and build 30,000 – 35,000. If you get the right DP’s, people will show up (kaka, robinho, pato)

    and please make it a world class stadium with a view

  22. TheSoccerDude says:

    There does not look like a lot of access. How would the people get there without clogging up traffic?

    • Rory Miller says:

      The same way they get into Foxborough… slowly and by one road.

    • Joamiq says:

      There is a three lane (each way) highway that goes into it, but it would probably get clogged up on gameday. I’m hoping there’ll be some way to park in downtown Miami and take a ferry across. Someone above also mentioned they’re building a tunnel to the island too, which would probably largely take care of things, though I still don’t know how much space there is to park on the island.

  23. michael f. sbi mafia original says:

    If they did this deal, would a part of that area still remain a port?

    • bryan says:

      according to the map in the article that is linked to, the stadium would be at the “base” of the port right across from downtown. the actual port part of the island is at the tip (shown in the picture in SBI’s article).

  24. mike says:

    20 sites?
    can I get a list please?

    • John says:

      Sure no problem, send a self addressed stamped envelope to David Beckham 20 site selection, 1234 youshould know drive, Miami, Fl.. I’m sure the give you the full list because Mike should be informed of all decisions.

  25. Dan in New York says:

    A nice concept but professional sports in Miami is a losing proposition. For evidence, look at the vacant monstrosity a few miles away known as Marlins Park. Heck, the Miami Heat even have trouble selling out playoff games. I love Miami but it’s a rotten sports town. How many are going to turn out for to a soccer game in Miami in August?

  26. Good Jeremy says:

    Great idea. As soon as the team folds because there is no local following and Miami is BRUTAL to teams, a hurricane will wash the stadium away and we can just forget it ever happened.

    All kidding aside, this looks awesome and would be great for a coastal team like San Jose (yeah, not on the beach, but only an hour away), Seattle, LA, or NY to have. The combination of hurricanes, no tradition or following, and a sports town that quickly bails on teams worries me though.

  27. El Paso tx says:

    Just make it already and that would be amazing, that team will have the best dps in MLS and finally galaxy, red bull will have competition for dps.
    I also feel bad for teams like Chicago having a bad stadium location and ugly stadium.
    San Jose making a high school stadium
    Galaxy being outside downtown LA.
    Sounders loving their super soccer stadium.
    Houston with an awkward stadium
    Fc Dallas in Frisco
    Crew with a high school stadium
    And the list goes on

    • Love it or leave it says:

      Cheap ownership is ruining the MLS

      Still cant get over the fact that the owner of the quakes is holding out on prime real estate in downtown san jose with a new stadium plan for the oakland A’s (which will never be built because SF Giants own the territory rights)

      He could easily put a 35,000-40,000 seat stadium with one of the big tech sponsors…

  28. marta in miami says:

    Dan you are in New York I am in Miami …lol…We will get at least 18,700 that you get up there and we will return to beating the MetroStars again on a regular basis … that is my team now actually, as it was in 1996 and then after Fusion, to eventually become Redbulls. Seriously we love Basketball and Soccer in Miami….nobody likes Baseball after the two time fire sales of players, they boycott that place – plus we protest they tore down our beloved Orange Bowl – which sold out for International Soccer Games, College Football, and the Fusion only played there twice, the final year in 2001 with 15,867 attendance, when the league average was 15k. We don’t want to be Seattle … we just want a smaller Redbulls Arena and continue our winning, dynamic styled team, playing the beautiful game to a Cup! Long Beach is the largest port then Miami but is that by revenue and not volume? … not sure but maybe just largest by land space square acres? … again I am not sure but it is a key part of Miami’s Gateway to the Americas – so it would be a very smart venture to put it there as the tunnel will be complete by then. I think they will look at a decent capacity as it can host International Games and our USMNT /WNT – But not so large that MLS crowd looks lost on tv. It will be an amazing spectacle.

    • bryan says:

      there is nothing big about Miami’s port other than cruise ship volume/size. not from a revenue or volume standpoint. Long Beach is BIG, but it’s not the biggest. the port in South Louisiana is 54 miles long, for example. Houston and NY/NJ are bigger than Long Beach (LA). Miami is #56 of 149, which isn’t bad, but no where close to being considered the biggest.

  29. marta in miami says:

    PS the Fusion game in the Orange Bowl,which only ever played twice – ACTUALLY IN Miami – was in Mid Summer heat … great turnout … which WAS THE SAME AS the league average of 15k at the time … great win 4 to 3 over the Crew : )

  30. Weston John says:

    Love the idea…count me in for season tix. Every project that is worthwhile has some obstacles (like parking & traffic), but with the right team and the city’s support, they’ll be able to make this happen. Putting the stadium on the water with views and a dock for yachts will make the stadium have the Miami feel that Beckham is looking for. All of the DP’s will want to play here and with the new TV deals in the near future, the salary cap and payroll have only one direction to go…

  31. bryan says:

    flooding issues aside, which come with the territory that is the state of Florida, this seems like a good plan. i wonder how much the lease would be though. that could be a big issue in their ability to turn a profit. for people living in Miami, how accessible is this? looking at the map in the article, it appears there is one bridge (Port Blvd/6th Street) in and out where the stadium location will be. glad to see it won’t be at the tip of the port but rather directly across from downtown (Bayfront Park).

  32. Riggity says:

    I give it 2 years before it is completely destroyed by a hurricane.

  33. marta in miami says:

    They have a huge tunnel being built underground from the road, just to the north of the land on the causeway, that connects to South Beach, where it bends towards this separate island…just north of this stadium site. They are directly across from the Heat so can use all the parking already in place. Trust me, this is an excellent solution for tv visability, fan experience, nearby Bayside shops (like Southstreet Seaport and HarbourPlace) and restaurants … some people were tweeting they can watch the game from their balcony! I am all googled out to see the exact Port thingie – and maybe I have been drinking the chamber of commerce coolaid to think we were number two to Long Beach, but I know I read that somewhere, maybe just on cars imported or electronics … can’t recall, but it is quite a proud area of the county, along with the airport being one of the busiest International flights. My point is this city is known as the Gateway to the Americas for seaport and airport as a Hub for International Business. It will be a real jewel in the MLS crown : ) !

  34. marta in miami says:

    Double PS … We will just have an Insurance company as a Sponsor then ; ) !!!

  35. Wild Draw Four says:

    Does Miami get the Caribbean as its HGP area? Branch academies in Kingston and Havana maybe?

  36. John says:

    So all the other stuff on that island, I guess they don’t know about the flooding and hurricanes? Wow, someone better start knocking on some doors. First it’s there no land to build a stadium, then they’ll never get funding, now we have climate that effects Florida, what next? Never thought people would be so negative about building a stadium ten years ago. MLS must becoming more relevant as haters are now in the house.