Remember back when David Beckham was insisting that he needed to have a waterfront site for his MLS team’s stadium, or the whole Miami franchise deal wasn’t going to work? That’s before he switched gears to go for a stadium next to Marlins Park — and now that that plan is apparently dead, it didn’t even take Beckham a week to come up with still another site:
“Miami Beckham United has secured a stadium development site at 650 Northwest 8th Street in the City of Miami’s historic Overtown neighborhood,” the team said in a statement. “We intend to create an assemblage of private and County-controlled land totaling approximately 9 acres in Miami’s urban core, within walking distance of multiple public transit options and the up-and-coming Miami River District. The private properties, which comprise the majority of the land, are under contract and we intend to purchase the County land at fair market value pending approval of our site by the MLS Board of Governors.”
The press statement goes on to say that the stadium construction will be privately funded, and the Miami Herald cited sources saying that Beckham won’t even ask for property-tax breaks on the site.
All of which is a press release, of course, and one issued on the traditional ask-us-no-questions day of Friday, so best take it with at least one grain of salt. But the day has another significance as well: The MLS Board of Governors is meeting tomorrow to discuss expansion plans, and with commissioner Don Garber yesterday having left the door open to giving Sacramento a franchise ahead of Miami if its stadium plans were ready first, Beckham apparently was frantic enough to pull together any stadium plan he could, stat.
This would be a weird dynamic, needless to say — a league effectively threatening prospective owners into upping their own contributions by playing them off against each other — but then, MLS is a weird league. It’s not really popular enough to shake down cities for huge subsidies (with a few exceptions), and its business model of late has appeared to be more about making money by luring in new owners hopeful that it’s going to be the next big thing, and then getting them to ante up as much money as possible for expansion franchises. So a bidding war among would-be owners rather than would-be cities actually kind of makes sense, even if it’s not the typical sports M.O.
Anyway, Beckham’s getting this franchise for a bargain-basement $25 million thanks to a clause in the contract he signed when agreed to play in the U.S., so he has plenty of money to spend on a stadium. Not that having plenty of money usually stops anyone else from trying to demand subsidies, but like I said, MLS is weird.