In one of the worst-kept secrets in sports history, the recently retired David Beckham announced on Tuesday night that he plans to launch an MLS expansion team in Miami. Which he gets to do, because he’s David Beckham, and gets to do at a discounted expansion fee via an option in his last contract, also because he’s David Beckham.
So Mr. Posh gets the 21st or 22nd or something MLS franchise, and Miami gets its first big-league soccer team since the late, unlamented Fusion, and … it feels like there’s something we’re leaving out. What’s this site about again, anyway? Oh, right:
MLS sources have previously said neither Sun Life Stadium nor FIU’s football stadium are ideal venues for a Miami-based MLS team. Instead, the league would likely want a soccer-specific stadium if at all possible…
If Miami wants to build a top-notch facility, using Orlando as a base, the cost will be well over $100 million.
This isn’t actually an immediate crisis, as MLS commissioner Don Garber has previously indicated that new soccer-only stadiums aren’t an absolute must. (Unless you’re D.C. United, in which case eeeagh crisis!) Still, Sun Life Stadium isn’t Fake Yankee Stadium or Atlanta’s new Sphincterdome, so even if Beckham gets a team before lining up a stadium deal, it’s bound to be item #2 on his to-do list.
So, what would it take to get a new soccer stadium in Miami? $100 million, obviously, which while a lot less than what the Marlins demanded for their stadium, still has the disadvantage of coming on the heels of the Marlins effectively salting the earth for stadium campaigns, to the point where Dolphins owner Stephen Ross couldn’t even get a legislative vote on their request for $127 million in public money to renovate Sun Life Stadium. So while cobbling together city and county funds a la Orlando City S.C. is a possibility, it’s likely to be a good bit tougher than it was across the state.
Of course, there is another option: Beckham is one of the richest (ex-)athletes on the planet, with a net worth around $300 million — the guy actually donated his entire $5.3 million salary to charity last year. So, he could decide to just pay cash for a new stadium, if he wanted. Of course, so could Stephen Ross, but these guys didn’t get to be billionaires by paying for their own toys, now did they?