Wednesday was the big day for soccer in Miami, with David Beckham joining the Commissioner and Mayor on a podium in sunny Florida. For those watching the press conference remotely, the event was notable for the Annie Lennox music while waiting for Beckham to arrive. Once everyone arrived, the festivities were hosted by a “former” investigative reporter from the Miami area. After an introduction, Beckham said a few words before Commissioner Garber took the microphone to discuss some of the details of the potential MLS franchise in Miami. The Mayor concluded the opening remarks before the floor was opened to questions.
While the Q&A was largely of the softball variety, there were some notable business points that emerged. First, the ownership group says it is not looking for public money. Second, there is no temporary stadium or permanent stadium solution, which seems contradictory to former league edicts about a stadium deal. Garber made it clear that Beckham’s option is contingent on a stadium project. The involvement of Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure certainly can’t hurt and possible inclusion of LeBron James would be a significant shot in the arm.
The primary potential stadium location is in the middle of PortMiami. Per Kyle McCarthy, “The working plan involves a privately-financed stadium on county-leased land as part of a larger rejuvenation of the area. The project will also presumably involve some sort of infrastructure improvements to address the inevitable traffic snarl given the dearth of routes to and from the island and the paucity of parking spaces available.”
All in all, the announcement was fairly low key. Because it was Beckham and it was Mimi, the press conference generated national attention. Now the league and ownership group must deliver a stadium deal in short order and start the process towards Miami in 2017.
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