10 June 2014

First New York, Now Miami: Another MLS Expansion Stadium Deal Collapses

 Just two weeks after MLS Expansion Team NYCFC lost it’s hoped-for practice stadium (article here), soccer great-turned-investor David Beckham’s efforts to find a location for a new Miami-based soccer team has suffered a similar fate: Mayor Tomás Regalado and City Manager Daniel Alfonso told Beckham’s investment group that their proposal to fill in a nine-acre waterway and build a $250 million, 20,000-seat stadium adjacent to the Miami Heat’s Arena on public park land was a no-go. 

In spite of Beckham’s offer to privately fund the construction and pay the City $2,000,000 in annual rent for use of the public land, public opinion was deeply divided; a Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald poll taken last week showed county voters evenly split over the location. Local residents offered the usual complaints about traffic and losing their water views; Cruise lines opposed the proposal as well, and the entire process may have been poisoned by the bad feelings remaining from a recent failed attempt at a taxpayer-supported stadium for the Miami Marlins. 

City and county leaders continue to insist that they want an expansion franchise in Miami. But Tuesday’s decision marked the second time a proposed location was rejected by the political leadership that once not only supported the project, but even recommended the location.   

A third possibility - sharing a downtown stadium with the University of Miami college football team ended with no agreement in sight.

According to theguardian.com, Beckham's investment group, “which includes the entertainment impresario Simon Fuller and the Bolivian telecoms billionaire Marcelo Claure, said it would pause to consider its options, one of which will presumably be withdrawing from the project altogether.

We presented a strong proposal for the site suggested to us by the two mayors the group, Miami Beckham United, said in a statement after a meeting on Tuesday with city officials in Miami.

Our package was the most equitable soccer stadium proposal that Miami, or any other city in America, has ever seen, 100% privately funded without any local taxpayers' money.

Our team will now pause and weigh alternatives. The people of Miami deserve a team and stadium that they will be proud of for decades to come."


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