Beckham stadium plan hits snag as Miami takes waterfront location off the table

David Beckham (left) at Sun Life Stadium

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By TIM FONTENAULT

David Beckham’s second attempt at securing a soccer stadium in Miami has failed after Mayor Tomás Regalado told the Englishman’s real estate adviser that the waterfront site Beckham was eyeing is no longer an option.

Beckham was in Miami over the weekend to lobby for a 20,000-seat stadium for his Major League Soccer expansion team. The area Beckham was interested in is currently occupied by a deep-water boat slip and part of Museum Park.

John Alschuler, Beckham’s real estate adviser, met with Regalado and City Manager Daniel Alfonso on Tuesday morning, and the two officials told Alschuler that the site is off the table.

“Given the uniqueness of this site, we agreed that this was just not the right place,” Alfonso said.

Beckham and his group had offered the city $2 million a year in rent, double the amount paid by the Miami Heat to play in the neighboring American Airlines Arena. However, the county determined that while they felt the offer was “generous,” it was not in the area’s best interest.

The group will now turn their sights towards an alternative location and will take their time to consider additional options.

“Our team’s going to pause,” Alschuler said. “They’re going to consider all alternatives and look forward to constructive engagement.”

Beckham’s team previously sought to build a stadium in PortMiami, but backed off when faced with political opposition from Royal Caribbean Cruises and the Miami-Dade County Commission.

What do you think of this latest mishap for Beckham? Will he find a spot in Miami suitable for his expansion team, or will he have to look outside Miami for the answer?

Share your thoughts below.

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72 Responses to Beckham stadium plan hits snag as Miami takes waterfront location off the table

  1. Brian says:

    Come to Austin, David.

    • ColinATX(2) says:

      Hear hear!

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      By about now I’d be telling Miami where its stadium can go.

      But Austin is a pitiful soccer town and not even the best choice in central Texas. San Antonio! SSS already built. Good crowds. No hipster problem. Sacramento and Indy have made enormous showings in the minors.

      • Ryan SATX says:

        Soccer is kind of a hipster sport, so I don’t see hipsters as a problem.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Trying to get people in Austin to show up for anything other than UT football is the problem. Meanwhile the Scorpions pull high 4 figures for a minor league team, and for a change would have their stadium built.

          There would also be a “green” issue getting a stadium approved in Austin.

  2. Jake says:

    It would have been flooded in a few years. Good decision.

    • Josh D says:

      I hate to see owners this passionate about US soccer get the shaft at every turn.

      • Paul says:

        I have never been to Miami, but I am beginning to wonder if Beckham’s team hasn’t simply been taking the wrong approach. It appears that waterfront property is very valuable and its use is very highly politicized, so it may never have been realistic to think that a waterfront stadium would get the greenlight. Beckham should focus on getting a stadium in an urban area with good access to public transportation and just let the rest slide.

      • kw says:

        I think it’s good to see public officials more deeply considering things instead of simply giving in to the demands of owners of pro sports’ teams. Of all cities, Miami needs to maybe learn this lesson the most.

        • Nick in LA says:

          I love your optimism, but it’s Miami. It means the bribe wasn’t large enough. Until it is, no more negotiating.

  3. Grumpy Goatmeal says:

    Who is that ominous ogre in the background behind the metrosexuals?

  4. Captain Obvious says:

    Miami doesnt want MLS….to be clear, Miami wants soccer, but only in the form of friendlies and meaningless scrimmages. There is a reason MLS left Miami.

    • jcr says:

      I think this is just an incredible bias against soccer in general. The politicians are not the fans who want more soccer. They are will to throw away so much more for the Marlins but not for what will likely be a big hit in soccer.

      • jcr says:

        I love cities like Austin, San Antonio and Sacaramento who would almost certainly embrace soccer, but what MLS needs more than anything is higher TV ratings and getting a team in Miami plus already the 2nd team in NYC are much more important. Higher TV ratings is what will propel MLS to the top leagues.

        • BamaMan says:

          I think that is very short-sighted and inaccurate. Who are the 2 most watched NFL teams? Not the New York Giants and the Jets (the biggest market). It’s the Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers, in the smallest market of any pro team in the US.

          If Miami signs a bunch of superstars, they’ll get viewers. But if they are just an average MLS team without any names, they won’t. Part of what has driven some people to MLS this year has been watching exciting fanbases like Seattle or Portland. Miami won’t have anything like that (the Heat fans left early during the NBA Finals, for goodness sake).

      • BamaMan says:

        The backlash against the Marlins deal is why there is so much scrutiny here and in New York. People in Miami revolted over how much was given to the Marlins. I don’t have a problem with it. Even if the stadium deal was privately financed, they were going to avoid taxes and avoid paying market rent. It’s still a subsidy. I think Miami MLS may be a long time coming.

    • Rafavic says:

      Yes its time for Becks to look for another city that wants a team. Miami doesn’t want a stadium.

  5. let's run up the stairs says:

    so does MIAMI want a MLS club or not? this is so ridiculous

    just give it to New Orleans

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      New Orleans can’t even get fans to go see the best young player in the NBA (Anthony Davis). Its just not an MLS worthy market at this time.

      • Ryan SATX says:

        Yep, if you were going to go somewhere else in the Southeast, Nashville or Jacksonville would probably be your best bets. Maybe Charlotte.

  6. EQeki says:

    Buyout some other property on the waterfront and demolish it

  7. Zack says:

    Don’t worry, Bex will get his deal in Miami. They will rule U.S. soccer.

  8. Chad says:

    Can Beckham choose a legitimate MLS target instead of Miami? Vegas maybe??

    • duneman says:

      I always thought for him it would be Miami vs Vegas…he needs the glitz. While there are some obvious points for Miami especially with his backers I would think he could get the same with some Vegas power brokers. Plus its a quick helicopter or private jet away from his LA home…which is where Posh said they live. ( She said the fam would be London first and LA second (and then maybe even NYC because of her work or “work”)). I have no idea what kind of local fan base vs tourist/travel fans you would have for Vegas matches and how the heat would be (maybe they can get those air conditioning flying clouds promised in the Qutar bid?)…..if nothing else it would be interesting if he just made a few Vegas flights and maybe one or two to San Antonio or something for some bargaining pressure. Or he just says “I am really looking forward to finding a home in Miami and I just hope we can find some supporters in local government” and then he and his backers just funnel a ton of cash into a new candidate for mayor and a city council seat not owned by the cruise industry.

  9. Troy says:

    Why do they insist on using the most valuable and crowded spot in downtown Miami? Did they do any feasibility study on this project? Troy@Miami News

    • US100Ebook says:

      Uhm… The deep water boat slip is one of theost used spots? Then why did the city propose it in the first place after rejecting the original destination?

      Look, Beck’s and company aren’t going to pour money into this for a stadium in a rundown part of town.

      Should just pack up and leave, leave those politicians hanging in the wind, let them deal with the fallout. Plenty of great cities out there and frankly why not just buy Chivas and rebrand.

  10. slowleftarm says:

    Other than Orlando, the recent expansion picks are incredible duds. But those expansion fee checks will cash just fine.

  11. NASL TO EL PASO TX 915 says:

    This just made MLS expansion even crazier than before. For example, so let’s say garber tells Becks, take your time since Miami has to be perfect to succeed, then that means MLS will have 2 expansion spots now open, 23 & 24. ( besides Miami)
    And that means miami would and could be number 25th expansion team, meaning MLS might hit 26 teams sooner than all we thought, in order to be even in each conference.
    So, expansion cities that can easily be 23 & 24, Vegas, Sacramento, and of course San Antonio and maybe Minnesota.
    This is gold news for those 4 markets, and if you think about # 25 & 26, which could be Miami as #25 and 26 can be any of the markets mention before.
    Miami has officially open expansion even more now. Unless they play at dolphins stadium or ?

    • patrick says:

      why do you assume that if they take their time it means they’ll let another team slide in in the meantime? That doesn’t make much sense

    • Anthony says:

      I also do not know what is with the obsession with Vegas. I DO NOT want a team there. Would someone explain to me why people keep mentioning it?

  12. Scott says:

    People in Miami are wondering why is an underwear model trying to build a soccer stadium.

  13. Shawn says:

    And this is why Garber was right to insist on stadium deals in place in prior rounds of expansion. A fact he conveniently forgot with NYCFC and Miami, and both have ‘issues’ when it comes to finding a place to play.

    And no, I still see no urgency to a second NYC team with a half-dozen other markets that are ready for *a* team. This round of expansion was too quick, too eager to gratify. And while the expansion fees will be nice, the headaches these teams will cause getting started will not be.

    • Brain Guy says:

      Yep, those plans for Garber’s induction into the Hall of Fame will have to get put aside for a while.

    • DCUPedro says:

      You’re wrong. Miami has not been given a franchise. A franchise agreement is not in place. It was all pending the stadium deal. The only announcement MLS made was one of intent, and it was conditional.

    • SingularityCup says:

      Except Miami was never officially given a franchise. Beckham has to get a legitimate stadium deal in place first for him to actually get a Miami expansion team. Might want to do some research about that next time.

  14. ManicMessiah says:

    Someone is chronicling this for the Beckham Experiment part deux, right?

  15. bryan says:

    yeah, it’s time to just forget Miami.

  16. ATP says:

    He needs to take over Chivas and rebrand it. Use that stadium money to build something spectacular in a good location in LA.

  17. Richard then says:

    Somebody tells David beckham to go to New Orleans. Forget about miami . Those Cubans don’t like soccer.

    • DCUPedro says:

      They will not get a stadium built in New Orleans, and the New Orleans market cannot support MLS.

    • Paul says:

      I have been involved in soccer for the better part of 4 decades, I have NEVER heard anything about New Orleans. Why is it being mentioned?

  18. Rafavic says:

    Not sure where Becks goes at this point. Miami is playing hardball with the waterfront area and as they do not have another major city near by they could use as a bargaining tool this is going no where fast. MLS wants this team in Miami but I’m not even sure if another city in the SE would be sexy enough for them to forget Miami altogether. Just buy Chivas and move them to San Diego and call it a day.

  19. Texas 1836 says:

    Bail on Miami. Go to Vegas.

    • Paul says:

      I have been involved in soccer for the better part of 4 decades, I have NEVER heard anything about New Orleans. Why is it being mentioned?

  20. SingularityCup says:

    Go be apart of the Vegas MLS consortium, Beckham. See you later Miami.

  21. Dan says:

    To be clear Beckham set the bar very very high. Waterfront property in Miami is extraordinarily valuable – amongst the highest in the world. $2M in rent per year might sound like a reasonable offer but any private corporation would be willing to pay 10X or more for that land (including the cost to fill in the slip).

    The fact is that there are a lot of other options to consider. One is to partner with the “U” and build a 40k stadium somewhere near downtown (but not on the water) that would be an ideal venue for international friendlies in the winter. Another idea (crazy as it might sound) would be to relocate the team north to Broward or Palm Beach County. It may sound absurd, but the Strikers back in the days of the NASL were one of the best supported teams in the league and past history has shown that MLS does better with smaller more dedicated fan bases (Salt Lake City, Kansas City etc.) vs. the more obvious big markets (i.e. Boston)

    Beckham said that his target was 2017 for a team. This doesn’t change that. He’ll continue working on the SoFL market for sometime before looking elsewhere.

    • Kelso says:

      Boston is a horrible example because, we’ll, it’s not really in Boston. It’s over an hour from downtown and a miserable experience in general. If the pats ever go through a real rough stretch I’m sure people will stop going out there even for the nfl. Kraft is a dingleberry when it comes to helping grow the MLS. If the team moves downtown it will become very successful

    • mike says:

      Ft. Lauderdale doesn’t sound crazy to me. Either that or throw more dough at the bloodhounds.

    • Joamiq says:

      But the U is nowhere near downtown. It’s not even actually in Miami.

      • Dan says:

        It’s a hell lot closer to downtown than Dolphins stadium. And neither was the orange bowl.

      • Richard says:

        The distance from coral gables to miami is…a street. If an on campus stadium is built it wouldn’t be bad at all.

  22. THomas says:

    WTF!? You get an honest, engaged owner trying to put his money where his mouth is and he’s getting treated like a disease. I honestly am starting to feel bad for him on this.

  23. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    South Beach?

  24. lprevolution says:

    Becks takes over Chivas. Moves to San Diego. Boom?

    • bryan says:

      it doesn’t sound like the Don will let that happen. and i do agree 2 LA teams are needed. but at some point, he has to decide how long he is willing to wait for an ownership group to come forward in LA (i’ve heard nothing about it). if not, and if Becks is willing, i think SD is a great place. plus, i live here…

      granted, i’m a DC United fan, an LA fan, and a Xolos fan but i would still go to games. and if LA and NY are desirable locations, wait until these Europeans come to SD. this place is awesome. perfect weather, beaches, food, beer, etc. pretty much the perfect replacement for Miami.

      that said, i think Jacksonville would be the more logical back up plan. we know Shahid Khan is interested in owning an MLS team and i think getting a SSS stadium there would be much easier. given it isn’t outside of the state, i could see Claure staying on board. him, Khan, and Beckman would be a formidable ownership group…

  25. Travis says:

    Head north to Palm Beach County. Better demographic for long term success. Or west to Sunrise, land and easy access.

  26. bryan says:

    my vote is San Diego or Jacksonville.

    i say San Diego simply because i live here and it’s also really nice here. he wants great weather and beaches, we got that.

    i say Jacksonville for a bunch of reasons. Shahid Khan is interested in owning an MLS team. we know that. we also know it was not likely to happen since Beckham was going to Miami and Orlando was awarded a franchise. you have to think that getting a stadium in Jax would be easier than Miami. imagine if Claure was to stick with it and those three become the ownership group. they would have some serious financial muscle.

    of course, i’ve only driven through Jax. it seemed nice. am i crazy to think this is a realistic back-up plan?

  27. Bac says:

    I live in South Florida, and have seen the attitude and behavior of the South Florida sports fan in general.
    The location is paramount. It needs to be an A+ location or take it to another city.
    There has been some very negative commentary regarding Beckham’s effort by local talk radio etc..which has been frustrating to listen to.
    I hope it works out, but I’d rather see an A+ location or the possibility for failure goes way up, if they can’t make it happen, take it elsewhere