The Miami Herald revealed the plans for David Beckham‘s MLS stadium in the PortMiami area of downtown. The European-style, open-air stadium is projected to hold 20,000-25,000 fans with a view of the downtown skyline. However, there are a lot of questions on funding and the team of investors is unsure if they can even acquire the large waterfront territory.
Revealing the stadium plans may have shown initiative, but without signed agreements, the plans can be taken with a grain of salt.
There may be a rivalry in place with Orlando City and a petition that shows over 7,000 people in favor of a new franchise, but there is still plenty of skepticism of Miami as a professional soccer market. The Miami Fusion closed its doors over 12 years ago. Even Beckham was less than convincing at the press conference to announce the team when a reporter asked him why he chose Miami. He started the answer with “I mean, why not?”
Still Beckham plans to be a hands-on owner, which could prove beneficial to the franchise.
The popularity of a professional soccer team in Miami may be the overarching quandary, but there will be no team without a stadium. The plans at PortMiami are under scrutiny from the bay’s largest tenant, Royal Caribbean Cruises. There is concern that the stadium could interfere with the ports and limit further expansion. Parking would be an issue, but Beckham’s real estate advisor John Alschuler says the team would strategically schedule matches to not interfere with nearby businesses and teams. The location at PortMiami is being touted as part of the revival of downtown.
The Herald reports that the Beckham team is looking at backup locations including land abutting Marlins Park (the preferred alternative), an industrial parcel adjacent to Miami International Airport’s auto-rental and mass-transit hub, and a spot near Florida International University at Tamiami Park. Some of these areas are public land which would most likely require public approval.
Regardless of the site, there would be some political involvement to discuss tax revenue or rent payments earned from the stadium. Beckham has stated that they would not use public funds to build the stadium.
Revealing the stadium plan may have been a ploy to get more community support and show a development strategy that would benefit the city with space for other tenants. Many of the key agreements, especially having a dedicated piece of land, are not in place. Fans may not have bought into the franchise and will need more details to fully invest their interest.