Inter Miami's Ft. Lauderdale Start Raises Questions For Club
MLS expansion club Inter Miami CF will spend its first two seasons at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, raising the question of whether fans will "make the trek" to Broward County and whether the club can "capture the hearts of a fickle and fragmented sporting public in South Florida," according to Jeff Carlisle of ESPN.com. Playing in Ft. Lauderdale and "basing some operations there would have its advantages in terms of location and would provide leverage in any kind of negotiation" with Miami over the stadium site. However, it also "runs the risk of sending mixed messages." Inter Miami supporter group Southern Legion Founding Member Piet Brown said, "You branded your team from day one as Miami. I think you need to play your MLS games in the city you're named after." Inter Miami has been "laying the groundwork to get the lease" negotiated for the Melreese site, where it plans to build its permanent stadium. Inter Miami Managing Owner Jorge Mas said that he "anticipates being able to bring the lease before the City Commission in the next month." Former Sun Sentinel columnist Jeff Rusnak said, "In South Florida, you make judgements about how far will I drive to see something. I'll do anything if it takes me 15 minutes. If it's an hour, it better be really worth my while" (ESPN.com, 4/22).