Soccer-legend-turned-prospective-Miami-MLS-owner David Beckham held a press conference yesterday, at which he announced … not much, really. Beckham confirmed that he’d exercised the option in his player contract (he retired after last season) that would allow him to buy an MLS franchise at a cut-rate price of $25 million, but otherwise he provided zero details about where in Miami his new team would play, how a stadium would be built, or just about anything else:
Beckham doesn’t know when it will begin play or where it will be based. He promised that construction of the stadium will be privately funded, but said he is still recruiting investors to make it happen.
“I think people maybe were hoping we were going to have the team name [Wednesday], hoping we were going to have the stadium locked down. Those things take time,” he said. “The first big decision we have to make, which we’ll make in the next couple of months, is the right investors. We have a lot of good people that are coming in to be a part of this and want to be large investors in this franchise.”…
As to whether his team would be ready to put the ball in play in 2016, Beckham said, “It’s hard to put a time on it. We want the team in the league when it is the right time for the team and when it’s the right time for the city.”
As for the name and colors, he said, “I know how important names are to the culture, to the fans, and it’s got to be right. The colors are going to be very vibrant. It’s Miami, they have to be.”
Okay, Beckham did provide one piece of information regarding the funding of the whatever it is he wants to build wherever he wants to build it:
“We don’t want public funding,” said Beckham. “We will fund the stadium ourselves. It’s something that we have worked very hard to get to this stage where we can fund the stadium ourselves. We want to create a stadium. We want to create a football club that is the people’s football club.”
Nonetheless, Beckham’s group has hired prominent Tallahassee lobbyist Brian Ballard to help seek a state sales-tax subsidy similar to what other professional sports teams across Florida have received for building stadium facilities.
You really can’t make this stuff up.
I’d try to provide an estimate of how much of Beckham’s stadium costs would be paid off by the $2 million a year in sales tax kickbacks that other teams get, but given that we don’t have a clue how much the stadium would cost, it’s pointless to speculate. Besides, when you’re talking about a guy who doesn’t count sales-tax subsidies as public funding, there’s really no way to be sure that there won’t be additional public goodies (free land? property tax breaks?) included in the deal as well. But hey, David Beckham got up before a bunch of reporters and said stuff, so you gotta cover that, right?