Royal Caribbean Speaks Out Against MLS Stadium Near Its PortMiami HQ
Royal Caribbean Cruises this week publicly announced its opposition to an MLS stadium at PortMiami, "citing traffic concerns and its own confidential plans to develop the 12 acres" that David Beckham and his investors want to lease for the facility, according to a front-page piece by Hanks & Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. PortMiami Dir Bill Johnson just weeks ago "completed a swing through Asia to pitch PortMiami’s in-house plan for the entire 36-acre site." The "growing attention on PortMiami’s southwest corner illustrates the challenge ahead for Beckham as he tries to strike a deal with Miami-Dade County" to build a stadium at the world’s "busiest cruising port." Royal Caribbean, whose corporate HQ overlap with Beckham’s proposed stadium site, had "been privately lobbying to thwart the soccer plan." Royal Caribbean VP & Global Chief Communications Officer Rob Zeiger "refused to elaborate on the company’s objections, though a top Royal executive privately raised traffic concerns in a recent meeting with Rebeca Sosa, the County Commission chairwoman and a leading skeptic of the stadium plan." The company's "attempted Beckham block comes as Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is in talks to craft a deal that would bring professional soccer to the county and add entertainment options to a port that sits a short drive from downtown Miami." Gimenez said that any opposition "is premature ... because Beckham and his investors must first deal with the hurdles placed by the county itself." Royal Caribbean Chair & CEO Richard Fain "met privately with Gimenez last week to express his concerns, while the company’s head of governmental relations, John Fox, reached out to Sosa" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/7).
WASHINGTON RED TAPE: In DC, Steven Goff writes the Earthquakes "are the latest in a long line of MLS clubs" that have left DC United with "stadium envy." The Earthquakes open a new stadium next season, while DC United "unveiled plans for a new facility at Buzzard Point but continues to confront political obstacles in its decade-long desire to exit RFK Stadium" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/7).