By FRANCO PANIZO
The difficulty in finding space for a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Miami is reportedly forcing David Beckham to look further north. Specifically, Broward County.
According to a report from the Miami Herald, Broward County commissioner Stacy Ritter said Thursday that Beckham’s group is now willing to listen to what county officials have to say about building a soccer stadium. Talks between the two parties are expected to be held soon, and Ritter said that county-owned land near the Florida Panthers’ NHL arena in Sunrise would be a “great fit” for the stadium.
“Beckham’s group was very unhappy with the parcel that Miami-Dade wanted to provide,” said Ritter. “We’re easier to deal with than the county to the south.”
While it is too early to know how much interest Beckham’s group has in potentially building a stadium in Broward County as opposed to Miami-Dade County, the willingness to listen to different plans is an interesting development. Beckham and his group had said in the past that a stadium needed to be built in downtown Miami, but roadblocks in securing a deal have apparently made the global superstar explore other possibilities.
His group is still assessing options in Miami, but is not keen on land near the Miami Marlins baseball stadium because it feels that space is “spiritually tainted” given all the negative publicity that came before, during, and after the deal for the ballpark.
Beckham announced in February his plans to exercise his MLS expansion franchise option on a team in Miami, but approval from the league’s board of directors is dependent upon him landing a soccer-specific stadium. Beckham initially wanted a site in the Port of Miami before switching his attention to land next to the AmericanAirlines Arena, but neither were approved by local government officials.
If a stadium were to be built in Broward County, it would mark the second time in MLS history that a team called that area home. The Miami Fusion played in Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale previously, but the team folded in 2001.
What do you think of Beckham’s group looking into the idea of building a soccer stadium in Broward County? Do you see it being easier for Beckham to strike a stadium deal there? Think having a team in Broward County would be a better fit than in Miami-Dade County?
Share your thoughts below.