Garber, Beckham, to meet with soon-to-be-retired person to discuss joint soccer-football stadium

MLS commissioner Don Garber, former soccer star David Beckham, and University of Miami president Donna Shalala are scheduled to walk into a bar meet later today to discuss a possible joint project to build a stadium for Beckham’s MLS expansion team and UM’s football team. Here’s how it would work, per the Miami Herald:

[Shalala] said she would favor a 40,000- to 44,000-seat venue, which would be larger than the 25,000- to 30,000-seat stadium MLS officials prefer but probably a size the league could live with. Shalala also happens to be a huge soccer fan. She is a member of the U.S. Soccer Federation board of directors…

UM would be willing to consider contributing toward construction costs, [a] source said.

That’s somewhat promising — if UM and Beckham’s team were both getting use out of the same stadium, they might actually be able to cobble together enough money to build the thing. Not that anyone knows how much money it would take to build the thing. Or where it would go — the leading site is the spot next to Marlins Park that is currently the site of public ballfields, that may not have enough room for a soccer stadium let alone a larger football stadium, and that could require tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks and discounted land. Also, Shalala is retiring as UM president next month, so while it would no doubt be nice for Beckham and Garber to get her blessing, it’s not like she’s going to be around for negotiations. But hey, sometimes you gotta take your momentum where you can find it.

This is the saddest of all stadium renderings

As friend of FoS Andrew Ross just remarked, “Is that a rendering or did they just stack some post-it notes on a printout of Google Maps?”

(For those wondering, it’s a “three-dimensional rendering” supplied by Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez of plans for a new soccer stadium next the the Miami Marlins stadium. Which may or may not be a bad idea, depending on how much the various subsidies team owner David Beckham would be demanding would come to. But man, does Suarez’s office need a budget for a better graphic designer. Or at least some fresh post-it notes.)

Beckham reportedly discusses new Miami MLS site at party, doesn’t cough cake all over his shirt

This slipped past me last week, but apparently David Beckham is sorta kinda maybe willing to consider a site near the Miami Marlins‘ stadium for a new MLS stadium:

Monday night he was sitting next to Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine at a birthday party for fashion magnate Tommy Hilfiger. The two chatted about soccer, and Levine said Beckham gave a tacit thumbs-up to the idea of building a professional soccer stadium next to Marlins Park.

“He mentioned it,” Levine said. “I think he has a sense of openness and willingness to anything.”

Why, that’s positively … hearsay, but I guess it’s more than anybody else has been saying about Beckham’s stalled Miami stadium plans, so sure, let’s call it news!

On the plus side, the Marlins stadium site is already set up for pro sports, with those expensive parking garages the city agreed to build and then almost also had to pay the Marlins’ property taxes on already in place. (It’s also used to hosting major events, as the former site of the Orange Bowl — in fact, there’s so much bad blood about the Marlins stadium deal that everyone involved is now calling it the “Orange Bowl site,” which is kind of hilarious.) But how much would Beckham be expecting the city to contribute to the project? According to the Miami Herald:

  • Beckham wants access to city land without paying market rate rent.
  • Miami-Dade County would likely be asked to take over ownership of the land, to exempt Beckham from paying property taxes.
  • Bruno Barreiro, the county commissioner pushing for a soccer stadium on the Marlins site, wants to create a “special taxing district” around the stadium to pay for expanding monorail service to the site, though the Herald isn’t clear whether this would be a tax surcharge or redirection of existing taxes.

How much in public money would that come to? Hard to say exactly: Those Marlins garages that cost $92 million would have owed $1.2 million a year in property taxes, so if an MLS stadium costs roughly double that, we’re talking maybe $2.4 million a year, which would be maybe $35 million in present value? And how much of a rent discount Beckham would want is completely unknown, so hard to say how much the access to city land would be worth.

That’s assuming, of course, that Beckham is actually considering this plan, and wasn’t just being polite at a party. It looks like the only deal he’s likely to get, though (that or a site in Overtown, which is even less far along), so if he really wants to own a team in Miami, he should probably at least consider it. See, cities do too have some leverage when it comes to stadium demands!

Miami-Dade announces plan for Beckham MLS team to play at FIU stadium, Beckham remains uninterested

Big news on the David Beckham Miami soccer stadium front!

[Miami-Dade County] commissioners voted unanimously to have the administration negotiate with Florida International University for Beckham’s team to play at FIU Stadium, until Beckham chooses a site and builds a permanent stadium.

Wow, this is what people have been suggesting for over a year now as a cheaper solution than building a whole new stadium. It’s just been a matter of waiting for MLS and Beckham’s group to buy into it, and now—

David Beckham’s group issued a statement saying it is not interested, at least not now.

“Our focus is on identifying the location for…the team’s permanent home,” the Beckham statement said. “Careful consideration will be given FIU when we address…a temporary facility.”

Oh. So actually, not so big news.

FIU does seem to be on the official table, anyway, and if nothing else the county negotiating a lease means Beckham will have an option sitting in front of him if he decides to go the NYC F.C. route and launch a team without waiting for a new stadium to be approved first. Which he doesn’t seem all that interested in doing, mind you — clearly he knows that the threat to take his franchise and go home is the only real leverage he has to demand a new stadium — but if he really does have his heart set on a franchise in Miami, at least Miami seems ready to call his bluff.

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.

Falcons owner to Beckham: Sharing digs with an NFL team can be fun and rewarding!

And finally, Atlanta Falcons and as-yet-unnamed Atlanta MLS expansion team owner Arthur Blank thinks that David Beckham’s MLS expansion team should share a stadium with the Miami Dolphins:

Here’s what Blank had to say when asked if Beckham’s team should stadium share with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami’s American Football team.

“Yes,” Blank told reporters. “It’s a challenge Beckham has to overcome. It’s important he finds a balance between the commercial side and the special, emotional atmosphere you want for a soccer stadium.”

Is Blank actually telling Beckham that he should throw in the towel on a new stadium and move into the Dolphins’ old place once it’s finished being renovated? Does he think maybe the Dolphins still want to build a new stadium, and could share with soccer? Has he completely forgotten that the Dolphins are doing renovations, and just assumes that every NFL owner is in the middle of building a new stadium, or will be soon? This is the guy who runs an organization that thinks London is in Spain, so anything is possible.

Beckham to talk with Broward County about talking about MLS stadium

That’ll show Miami-Dade County for rejecting David Beckham’s preferred MLS stadium sites: Beckham is now threatening to move to Broward County instead, or threatening to think about moving to Broward County, or something like that:

[Broward County commissioner Stacy] Ritter said Brian Ballard, one of the team’s lobbyists, conveyed that Beckham’s group is now willing to listen to what Broward officials have to say. Those talks are expected soon, she said.

It’s too soon to tell the level of the Beckham group’s interest in this idea, but at least they told Ritter that Beckham & Co. are open to considering it.

So, either Broward is on the table, or it’s on the table as leverage to get Miami to give Beckham the waterfront site that he neeeeeeeeeds. One of those.

Beckham has rejected Miami-Dade’s proposed site near Marlins Park, incidentally, because he says it’s “spiritually tainted” by the Marlinsstadium fiasco. This spiritual taint issue is a new and potentially knotty problem — after all, if the vicinity of every prior development scam is off limits, there’s going to be nowhere left to build in Florida.

Miami mayor tells Beckham on stadium site: “The slip is off the table”

Finally up to speed with David Beckham’s plans for an MLS stadium in a public park by a filled-in boat slip that would be turned into new parkland? Good, now forget all that, because Miami city officials just stuck a giant fork in it:

Mayor Tomás Regalado and City Manager Daniel Alfonso told Beckham’s group thanks but no thanks when lead negotiator John Alschuler offered Miami $2 million a year in rent of sorts to make a deal.

That was “generous,” according to Alfonso, but neither he nor the mayor walked into the meeting with Alschuler intending to bargain. “Given the uniqueness of this site, we agreed that this was just not the right place,” Alfonso said.

“The slip is off the table,” Regalado said.

Regalado, you may recall, was a prime opponent of the Miami Marlins stadium deal, even attempting to take back $100 million in garage subsidies once it became clear that the team’s owners were just pocketing the profits. (He didn’t get very far, but he attempted.) Beckham has had more support from Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, but with the city controlling the land in this case, Regalado has effective veto power.

That’s two proposed stadium sites rejected in a little over a month for Beckham and Alschuler, who said yesterday that the team — which doesn’t actually exist yet, mind you, and won’t until it has a stadium deal in place — is going to “pause” and “consider all alternatives and look forward to constructive engagement.” I’m pretty sure that’s PR-speak for “WTF do we do now?”, so we may be in for a short pause in Miami MLS news.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/06/10/4169888/miami-takes-downtown-museum-park.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2014/06/miami-takes-downtown-waterfront-site-off-table-for-mls-stadium.html#storylink=cpy

Miami, Beckham $207m apart on value of stadium land

I’ve been wondering for a while now how much of a bargain Miami was going to have to give David Beckham’s MLS ownership group as part of a deal for a new waterfront stadium in a public park, and the answer is: Nobody can agree on it, so they’re shutting down talks for a while.

For months, David Beckham’s Major League Soccer venture has said it will pay some sort of annual rent — “fair,” “market” or “reasonable” — to build a stadium on prime public land.

Yet the number Beckham’s representatives have floated in early talks with the city of Miami is so low that the city manager has called for the two sides to “take a breather.”

That figure: $500,000 a year, according to the city.

Miami says it has not countered with a figure of its own, but it’s far higher than $500,000 — as high as $12 million to $14 million, City Manager Daniel Alfonso said Monday.

“We’re just too far apart,” he told the Miami Herald.

That’s pretty far apart, yeah. How far? In present value (5% discount rate), over the term of a 30-year lease, $500,000 a year is worth about $7.7 million total. $14 million a year would be worth $215.2 million. So Beckham and the city of Miami are only $207.5 million apart on how to split the costs of a new arena. Yeah, this could take a while.

Meanwhile, the University of Miami’s football team has said it’s not interested in moving to an MLS stadium at the new boat-slip site, both because it has 18 years left on its lease at Sun Life Stadium, and because the new soccer site likely isn’t big enough to fit a football stadium anyway. Anyone for Plan C?

Beckham’s plan would build MLS stadium on Miami park, build park on water

David Beckham’s stadium czar John Alschuler has released a few more details about the group’s planned soccer stadium on a filled-in boat slip, including some really quickly rendered renderings that don’t show much. What we do know:

  • The stadium wouldn’t actually be built on the boat slip, so much as on land currently being developed as a public park, with the public park then being instead built on the boat slip behind the stadium.
  • There’s no parking. Reports the Miami Herald: “Beckham’s group says there are enough spaces in lots and garages around downtown if no soccer matches coincide with Miami Heat basketball games. Heat executives have said they are concerned about some of those parking spots disappearing as new developments break ground.”
  • The stadium would get a full exemption from property taxes (value not given), while the county would charge “some sort of rent” (per Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, per the Herald).
  • Beckham’s group wouldn’t reimburse the city for its $15 million in recent improvements to the boat slip, with Alschuler explaining, “If I own a Chevy and somebody says, ‘I’m going to replace it with a Cadillac,’ I should consider that a pretty fair transaction.”

There’s still a lot we don’t know, obviously, which helps explain why the Herald describes Miami city commissioners who heard Alschuler’s pitch as sounding “open to the project, if still hesitant given the lack of specifics.” The whole thing is tentatively headed for a November public ballot, which really isn’t a lot of time to figure out what the plan is or how it’s being paid for, but that hasn’t stopped anyone before.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/22/4131088/david-beckham-team-to-reveal-soccer.html#storylink=c