MLS to Beckham: Build your damn Miami stadium wherever you want, just get it over with, OK?

MLS owners met this weekend and endorsed David Beckham’s hastily assembled Miami stadium plan for Overtown, on the grounds that “at this point, we’d be happy if the team played on an oversized airboat in the Everglades if it would put an end to this ordeal, hell, the entire state’s going to be underwater soon enough as it is.”

Okay, they didn’t quite say that, but read between the lines, people:

“We are very supportive of Miami Beckham United’s plans to locate their stadium in the City of Miami’s Overtown neighborhood,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said. “Their vision for a world-class venue within the urban core that is accessible by mass transportation is impressive, and we believe it will be an important part of the continued revitalization of the area.

“We look forward to working with David and his partners to finalize plans to bring Major League Soccer to Miami.”

If initial reports can be believed, Beckham will actually pay the full cost of the stadium, including land and applicable taxes, which would make a nice little mini-trend, following similar decisions in Orlando and Sacramento. Presumably the lure of being able to get into the owner’s club for the bargain-basement price of $25 million (plus the cost of the stadium, of course) was just too great for Beckham to pass up — though come to think of it, wasn’t Beckham’s discounted-franchise-fee deal supposed to expire a month ago? You’d actually kind of think that MLS owners would realize that if they rejected Beckham’s stadium plan they could re-sell a Miami franchise for a heck of a lot more — but I guess they figure having the cachet of Beckham’s presence is worth more than another $75 million in cash. Not realizing when Beckham needs MLS more than it needs him is what got them in this mess in the first place, after all.

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17 comments on “MLS to Beckham: Build your damn Miami stadium wherever you want, just get it over with, OK?

  1. Is that finalized? All I saw was a commitment of “no general fund money” from L.A., which doesn’t necessarily mean much.

  2. I think the key here is that MLS views Miami as a must-have market. And I think they’re right to do so. I’ve got to imagine that having a Columbus vs. Portland title game was less than ideal for getting the league media exposure.

  3. Even so, you don’t think they could have gotten more than $25 million for a Miami franchise if they opened it up to owners other than Beckham?

  4. Miami would better be described as a must have had market. It remains seen as unaccountably essential by every major sport.

  5. So true. Miami is the banking capital of South America. Marcelo Claure can’t be the only Miami-based billionaire trying to get into the ownership game, right? And I’m pretty certain Paolo Maldini’s Miami FC was created basically to be an “in case the whole Beckham thing falls apart” option.

  6. Oakland isn’t a bad place to watch the NFL. That probably says more about how awful going to an NFL game really is than it does about Oakland, unfortunately.

  7. I know the logic is that Miami is a go-to market, but as someone born and raised in Miami I have to say that is the silliest notion ever. Yes, I understand the dynamics of that Latino market and the burgeoning growth, but people also forget that overwhelmingly the people in Florida are recent transplants, and care either for their former national teams or for American teams in sports leagues where there is a cache (that’s how you end up with more Dallas Cowboys and Steelers fans in FL, even though some fans haven’t been above the Panhandle). Not to mention the already existing loyalties of retirees, and you have a recipe for a market that simply doesn’t care about local teams.

  8. I like all the abstract speculation about Miami being a good place for an MLS team. It’s like the Fusion, with their 11K attendance in 1st place, never even happened.

  9. Floormaster:

    I thought about posting a similar comment but knowing that the replies would be either: “Well the dynamics of the league have changed since then,” or, “Well they played in a dump of a stadium that wasn’t convenient to anyone,” I did a self veto.

    I have no idea what the former even means vis a vis Miami. The latter? I would imagine that Beckham would actually be good for a year’s worth of great attendance, regardless of the stadium situation. After that, who knows?

  10. “I think the key here is that MLS views Miami as a must-have market. And I think they’re right to do so. I’ve got to imagine that having a Columbus vs. Portland title game was less than ideal for getting the league media exposure.”

    In addition to poor media coverage Chelsea v. Bournemouth doubled it up ratings wise the day before (0.8 v. 0.4). Frankly I would have rather watched that game as well.

  11. So you’re saying that people would rather watch a game from one of the 2 or 3 best leagues in the world than some sub-par league with has-beens and middling talent?

    The level in quality isn’t even debatable. The best player on Columbus was a flame out at an EPL club that got relegated (at least I think Norwich got relegated the season Kamara was there).

  12. Atlanta has 29k ticket deposits , Orlando averaged close to 30k per game. Ratings and demographics show Miami as a stronger market. Also demographics show Miami to be a much different city than in 1998 when the Fusion played.

  13. Steven:

    Just because Orlando has come out the gate running, and Atlanta looks set to do the same, doesn’t automatically guarantee that Miami will do so itself.

    Hell, it’s not 100% set in stone that all (or even any) of those cities will be major success stories. The new car smell is eventually going to wear off — how will the teams keep the fans’ interest then, especially when all three are warm-weather cities with plenty of other entertainment options?

  14. @Michael: We agree. I’m not saying its unexpected or surprising that Soccer fans, myself included and particularly American ones (used to watching the best in the world at Basketball, Baseball, etc.), would rather watch an EPL game.

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