Miami-Dade County unanimously votes to negotiate stadium site with Beckham

David Beckham Marcelo Clauro Miami Heat (Reuters)

By FRANCO PANIZO

David Beckham’s dream of bringing an MLS team to Miami has taken another step towards becoming reality.

Beckham and South Florida soccer fans received good news on Tuesday as Miami-Dade County voted unanimously in favor of passing a resolution that will allow mayor Carlos Gimenez to negotiate a location for a soccer-specific stadium with the global icon’s ownership group. Gimenez will also analyze the feasibility of development of a stadium and finalize agreements with all the necessary parties.

A handful of possibilities have been brought up as potential destinations, with PortMiami being the reported favored choice by Beckham and his group, but nothing has been finalized. No tax payer money is expected to be used in the construction of any stadium for Beckham’s club.

MLS commissioner Don Garber said recently that having a stadium plan in or around the downtown area was crucial for bringing an MLS team back to Miami, where the Fusion played from 1998-2001 before the league contracted. Garber also said during halftime of the MLS Cup Final that an expansion announcement could come soon.

Beckham is reported to have until the end of the year to claim an expansion team at a discounted rate of $25 million. Beckham, Garber and MLS have refrained, however, from confirming or commenting on that publicly.

The former England international has said he would like his team to begin play in MLS by 2016 and all signs point to it having to initially play at a temporary venue before moving into its permanent home.

MLS, which plans on adding three more teams to bring its total to 24 by 2020, announced last month that it would return to Florida in 2015 when Orlando City enters the league as an expansion team.

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Excited by the news that Miami-Dade County voted unanimously to negotiate the location of a soccer-specific stadium with Beckham? Think we’ll hear an announcement from his ownership group before the end of the year? Where in Miami would you like to see the team play?

Share your thoughts below.

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40 Responses to Miami-Dade County unanimously votes to negotiate stadium site with Beckham

  1. Brain Guy says:

    Caption: “You mess with Becks at your peril.”

    More generally, I think we can all see a new and improved Beckham Rule coming that will take care of that pesky December deadline.

    • John O'Brien says:

      As it should. Beckham and his brand are an asset to MLS. The man draws eyeballs and generates press. And he seems to be a pretty decent guy as far as international superstars go.

      I’m a fan of MLS and somebody like Beckham helps promote MLS to the rest of the world as a viable destination for talent. I don’t think MLS will ever supplant Europe as the ultimate soccer destination but it doesn’t have to.

      As someone who played a lot of FIFA Manager over the years (more “customizable” than Football Manager, in a fantasy sort of way) I would love to be Don Garber for a little while. MLS expansion is fun and exciting, Can’t wait until the 24th team is announced and the rest of the stadiums are built.

      • Brain Guy says:

        I guess you may be right, but the “Beckham draws eyeballs” argument seems to apply more to him personally than to MLS as a whole, and (now that he’s retired as a player) more to Europeans than Americans. He’s an undeniable talent, good guy, etc., but I think the days are past when foreign players need to see Beckham associated with the league before they consider it as a destination. They will come because the money is there.

  2. Kirielson says:

    Well congrats. Let’s see how it goes. Plus that it’s not publicly funded is a good plus too.

    • Ian says:

      Agreed. Lots of empirical evidence coming out lately suggesting stadia are not a safe investment for municipalities (e.g. Chicago, Philly, Colorado).

      • Rory Miller says:

        The fact is we have all known for twenty years that municipalities do not make money back on their stadiums. New Jersey will be paying for the next decade on the meadowlands, not the new one, the old one that has been torn down.

        Read the book “Field of Schemes” which is great about this. It also lays out how John Henry had NOTHING to do with keeping the Sox at Fenway like all the Liverpool fans believe. He tried but failed to move out and a local group got the stadium listed as a historic site so it couldnt’ be torn down to make a new one.

      • BBB says:

        The issue with Colorado is the area they built the stadium was/is nothing remotely close to being “municipal.”

      • John Cocktosen says:

        Having a stadium / team also adds to a city’s brand. It signals that you are “big time”. How many knew of Jacksonville until they got a football team. Same goes for Green Bay.

        How many would know about Manchester except that it the birthplace of the Smiths.

        A stadium adds to brand the same way airports and opera houses do. A city spends on an Airport to make a good first impression not to generate income.

        As a corollary, buying naming rights for an MLS stadium makes even more sense when you take into account the international audience.

        You will get more international press when
        “The Miami Beckams won their final game at Nike Stadium to get into the playoffs”
        vs
        “The Miami Dolphins won their final game at Sun Life Stadium to get
        into the playoffs.

        Despite the relative size of the two leagues.

      • jgnc says:

        How about Portland? Our city council was kicking itself this year for not letting Merritt Paulson put in as many seats as he initially wanted to. Jeld-Wenn crushed forecasts and the city has so far made an easy windfall. Build it and they will come? No. But if you have a passionate fan base, there is money to be made, even for the city.

  3. MLSsnob says:

    Miami Ultras supporters group!

  4. elgringorico says:

    EJ to United done deal

    • Ian says:

      Gahhh. I was holding out hope he might end up in LA. Oh well, congrats DC. That team is looking good – and not just by 2013 comparison.

  5. Benny Dargle says:

    Sounds like it is carefully worded so that the “no public funding” pledge applies only to the construction. That will allow plenty of public subsidy to be used on the land transfer or lease and on property taxes.

    • Weston John says:

      Miami Herald: “The resolution requires the stadium be privately funded — or at least, without Miami-Dade County funds — and to pay rent if it is located on public land. Commissioner Barbara Jordan successfully amended the legislation to say the rent should be commensurate with fair market rates.”

      Read more here: link to miamiherald.com

      • jgnc says:

        Probably will use bonds at least

      • Benny Dargle says:

        Hmmm. Did the Miami Herald correct the story after you posted or did you quote from a different source, because it sure looks like the below FMV rent loophole is left open for now:

        “The resolution requires that the stadium be privately funded — or at least, without county dollars — and pay rent if it is located on public land.

        Commissioner Barbara Jordan said the rent should be commensurate with market rates; Gimenez said that was fair. There was no language, however, added to the resolution approved Tuesday.”

        Read more here: link to miamiherald.com

        • Weston John says:

          Interesting…that article seems to get revised every few hours…

          Needless to say, the owner of the Marlins didn’t do Beckham any favors with their whole ballpark fiasco.

  6. Soccerhorn says:

    Now all Bex has to do is hope a hurricane hits the port of miami and the stadium is used as a shelter, because that’s the only way he’s ever gonna fill that thing with the legendarily poor Miami fanbase.

    • Weston John says:

      Are you referring to the same “legendary” fanbase that set a Florida record last month for 71,000+ fans at a friendly featuring Brazil vs. Honduras? The fanbase that put 70,000 fans into SunLife for Barcelona/Chivas last year? The fanbase that put 67,000 for Chelsea/Real Madrid this past August?

      Yes, I know those aren’t MLS games. But, we can handle filling a 25k-seat stadium for an MLS game. No problem. This ain’t 2001.

      • MLSsnob says:

        Quick question, what do all of those games have in common?…Either a Spanish or a Hispanic team. They have no problem coming out for one game to root for the country of their birth or a team they grew up supporting. They ARE NOT going to come out for a team they have no connection to with no history. Sorry, bro. I will though but people like me and a couple of my buddies are to few and far between.

        • MLSsnob says:

          Plus, most of those “fans” are Hispanic Euro snobs who think MLS is beneath them. Unless their shirt says “Neymar” or the like, they’re not going to watch.

          • Weston John says:

            I agree about the Euro snob (sophistication?) aspect of the fanbase. Beckham’s ownership group knows this and will sign some serious DP’s. Beckham-esque DP’s. Plus AC Miami’s academy is going to create homegrown talent like LA does. Some great youth players here. The highschool team in my town is ranked #1 by SI in the nation.

        • Weston John says:

          AC Milan vs. Chelsea sold 57,000 tix in 2012. No Spanish or Mexican or South American team in that game.

          The Miami fanbase also has one thing in common…soccer is their favorite sport. A stadium in the right location and the right player signings and there will be no problem filling the stadum.

        • John O'Donnell says:

          You can say that about any new team, you can’t just create history. Seattle didn’t draw even a quarter of what they draw now. You have to market and build the team in any sport, not just Miami.

      • slowleftarm says:

        Second worst sports town in America (behind Atlanta) and a fanbase full of Eurosnobs. If there aren’t better expansion options than this, maybe it’s time to stop expanding for a little while.

        Also, being a eurosnob is not “sophisticated.”

      • derek gores says:

        I’m looking forward to driving 3 hours South to catch the games. I live in Florida– and indeed this ain’t 2001. Totally evident. Bring it on!

    • Ryan says:

      What a morbid thought. Yikes!

      • Ian says:

        - “That’ll be $24.”
        - “But sir, me and family need shelter! Don’t you see the massive hurricane bearing down on Miami?!”
        - “Ah yes! I almost missed them. That’ll be $96.”

  7. dirk says:

    Westervelt / soccerreform on twitter suggesting Beckham going NASL. NO salary cap, etc

    Is this just pure Teddy fantasy or has anybody seen anything to suggest this?

  8. byob el paso tx says:

    the team name should be Inter MiamI city. do not put fc or sc at the end please!!!!!
    if its not inter miami city, just make it miami city and the team colors should be exotic for sure.
    by the way, whats going to orlandos team name, orlando city sc or orlando city lions.
    as for Atlanta, it has to be Olympic Atlanta :-) or atlanta chiefs

  9. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    Miami Deportivo

  10. DC Josh says:

    Something still doesn’t feel right about Beckham’s push for a Miami franchise. Of course he is in it to make money as an owner, but I feel he wants to replicate the 1st Cosmo model of big names and media exposure rather than building a sustainable club that produces talent and has a devoted fan base.

    • Weston John says:

      Can’t we have big names and media exposure while still building a sustainable club that produces talent and has a devoted fan base? Barcelona produced Messi, but still splashed the cash on Neymar. I think in Miami you almost have to have the big names to establish the devoted fanbase.

      Developing its own talent is a no-brainer down here as there is some serious youth talent.

      Alejandro Bedoay played with the Weston FC youth club and later led St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Ft. Lauderdale) to the 2005 state championship.

      Jozy Altidore played for the Boca Raton Juniors Soccer Club, Schulz Academy (Ft. Lauderdale) and Sunrise S.C. in his youth.

      Those 2 would have made pretty good homegrown players.