SBD/June 17, 2014/Facilities

MLS Insists On Downtown Miami Stadium Site For Beckham's Expansion Team

Some Miami politicians want Beckham's MLS stadium near Marlins Park
MLS does not want David Beckham’s Miami expansion team "to play at the site some politicians have started to promote for a new stadium: next to Marlins Park in Little Havana," according to Patricia Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. MLS President & Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott: "We’re not considering that location. Our strong belief is that, to be successful, it needs to be downtown." Mazzei writes the league's resistance, "especially as elected leaders begin to coalesce around the Marlins site, could make it difficult for Beckham and his investors -- who have eyed public land for their mostly privately funded stadium -- to find another place they might deem suitable." Abbott said, "One of the primary fan groups that is driving our growth has been Millenials. We find that we do very well with that demographic in those downtown locations" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/17). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dieter Kurtenbach writes, "Beckham has been hellbent on building a waterfront stadium in downtown Miami, but will he opt to move away from the bay with Plan C?" Beckham advisors in a statement yesterday said that they "would continue to search for a viable downtown Miami stadium site, but would also continue to listen to outside bids." Kurtenbach notes one of those bids "has already come from Palm Beach County, whose officials reached out before Beckham's February announcement, and remain interested" in an MLS team. FAU's football stadium is "seen as a viable option for an MLS team." But Palm Beach County Sports Commission Exec Dir George Linley said that he "isn't likely to reach out to Beckham's representatives again." Meanwhile, an FIU spokesperson said that MLS "has not been discussed since Beckham toured FIU Stadium last June." Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach "has also been speculated as a possible stadium site" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 6/17).

WOULD BECKHAM BACK OUT? YAHOO SPORTS' Martin Rogers reported Beckham has been "presented with an alternative option" to his Miami expansion team that "could see him instead go head-to-head with his former club," the Galaxy. A source said that Beckham was approached last week to "become part of a consortium led by Asian investors who are planning to bid for L.A.'s other MLS club, Chivas USA." The source added that the group is "backed by Chinese and South Korean investors with holdings in property and the construction industry" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/12).
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