SBD/November 14, 2013/Facilities

Beckham Looks At Marlins Park For Planned MLS Expansion Team's Temporary Home

Marlins Park offers the urban environment that Beckham and the MLS desire
David Beckham is "taking a serious look at Marlins Park as a temporary home" for his planned MLS expansion team, "until he can build a permanent soccer-specific stadium," according to sources cited by Kaufman & Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. Beckham was in Miami yesterday "touring potential locations" with his agent, XIX Entertainment Founder Simon Fuller, and Brightstar Communications CEO Marcelo Claure. Beckham also is "considering FIU Stadium as a temporary venue." Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez yesterday said of Beckham's group, "They do want an urban site. I do agree that an urban site would work better." Gimenez added that a facility such as Sun life Stadium "would be too big." He emphasized that the team would eventually "build its own stadium -- with its own money." Kaufman & Mazzei write Marlins Park "would likely please MLS, as it sits on the former Orange Bowl site, which is where the league intended to put the Miami Fusion when it awarded the city that franchise" back in '97. But Marlins Park is "not ideal as a permanent home because the MLS season overlaps with baseball season," and it would also require the "reconfiguration of the field." Beckham also met with FIU officials, "who believe their stadium is the perfect fit because of its size, West Miami location, and international student population." But MLS officials "are not sold on FIU or Sun Life as permanent homes." League officials have "told potential investors they prefer a privately-funded soccer-specific stadium of 20,000 to 30,000 seats, if possible in an urban area with restaurants and shopping nearby" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/14). In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis cites a source as saying that Marlins Park "is not well suited to soccer,." and that Sun Life Stadium is the "most viable venue to place a MLS team, at least initially" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/14).
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