MLS commissioner says without “the right stadium” in Miami, Beckham will take ball and go home

MLS commissioner Don Garber has for the first time stated openly that David Beckham’s Miami expansion franchise depends on getting a new stadium built:

“If we can’t get the right stadium, we can’t go to Miami. We have been challenged to find a site that we believe will be successful,” Garber told Reuters at the SoccerEx Americas Forum in Barbados last week.

“I’m neither optimistic [nor] pessimistic.”

That’s the kind of thing commissioners are expected to do for their owners, of course, and with Beckham’s troubles getting Miami officials (or even Broward County officials) to hand over the waterfront land that he desires, he no doubt appreciates all the leverage that he can get. And anyway, his option to pick up an MLS franchise on the cheap, negotiated as part of his agreement to join MLS as a player years back, doesn’t limit him to Miami, so presumably if his and Garber’s threats don’t shake loose a Miami stadium, he can go to Detroit or Juneau or some other city that has a waterfront and try again there.

Meanwhile, for anyone trying to discern a coherent policy here from Garber on when new soccer-only stadiums are needed, and when sharing with a football team is okay, and when sharing with a baseball team is okay, the answer is: coherent, schmoherent, it’s all about who wants it badly enough and how much money they’re putting up. If Beckham decides tomorrow that he’d be happy to share digs with the Dolphins, I’m sure Garber will declare that this is totally acceptable. It’s actually nice to see MLS growing up and joining the other big leagues that understand there’s only one principle worth standing on: money.


14 comments on “MLS commissioner says without “the right stadium” in Miami, Beckham will take ball and go home

  1. “We have been challenged to find a site that we believe will be successful,…”

    In a more reasonable world this would just be a public announcement that your real estate agent isn’t up to the job. Sad that there’s more to it than that.

  2. Yeah, I did some quick Googling, but wasn’t sure about the “first,” either. If someone finds a previous instance, I’ll update.

  3. When it has come to the point where all team owners need to do is sit and wait for the right arena or stadium to land in their laps, our society is doomed.

    We have entirely lost sight of what’s important. We’re Rome, for God’s sake.

  4. Do you guys know that MLS failed already in “Miami”? The Miami Fusion actually played in Ft. Lauderdale and they folded in 2001. The league stated that the location and stadium were the primary reasons why the team failed, they have good reason to hold out for the right plan.

    I don’t know why the Fusion didn’t play in the Dolphins stadium except that the league was on its soccer specific stadium plan. Seattle, and New England are doing fine in NFL stadia but those teams are owned by the local NFL team owners. Arthur Blank will have a team in Atlanta.playing in his new NFL stadium in 2017.

    I have no idea where NYFC is going to play or what city MLS is looking at as the home of the 24th franchise.

  5. JohnOgre, it’s really the entitlement-attitude that seems to be getting to people now.

    “We’re coming. What present will you give us?”

    (Noses now turned up): “Oh. That’s not good enough.”

    It disgusts me. But that’s the thing. Even the way they framed the arena in Sacramento. “Sacramento needs a new arena.” No it doesn’t; the Kings need a new arena. To me, that sounds like someone else’s problem, but to KJ, the problem was solved with a massive plan that has a real, solid chance of failing financially.

    No matter. “Sacramento needs a new arena!” (So get busy, you!)

    That’s the attitude that is now taking hold.

  6. the last thing the MLS needs is more teams, talent is already diluted enough. watching the quakes this year was very very trying.

  7. @tenfourteen

    Unfortunately MLS seems hell bent on banking some expansions fee $$$.. at least in the short term

  8. Wrong ! Dc and NE both averaged around 20k in first couple seasons. But as rest of league has improve on game day experience, playing in NFL size stadiums has killed their attendance.

  9. Beckham can get place built in multiple locations, just not downtown, because boat guy and Heat owners doesn’t want the competition.

  10. The problem MLS has is they can’t get the TV money necessary to sign more world class players without expanding their national footprint in hope that added fan base turned into better TV ratings.

  11. football and basketball had no competition and we’re put on a pedestal in this country, yet it took both sports 50 years to make it. they didn’t have rival sports trying to block their survival. Garber wants to do it in 30 years. I think it will still take 50.

  12. @JohnOgre – It was scheduling. Dolphins stadium was already hosting the Marlins, the Dolphins, and the Hurricanes in 1996. There wasn’t enough dates there with the needed transition between baseball and soccer forcing them out to Ft. Lauderdale.

    RFK did the baseball to soccer transition for a while and it’s not easy to do. They permanently removed some sections so the conversion would go faster when changing back to soccer (hence the lack of seats behind either goal). Everyone knew it was just temporary though since Nationals Park was going up.

    NYCFC is going to share Yankees stadium while they work on a new stadium in the Bronx (or Queens or maybe Brooklyn).