By FRANCO PANIZO
Broward County might be attempting to lure David Beckham and his potential MLS expansion franchise away from Miami-Dade County, but it is apparently Miami or bust for the global icon.
MLS commissioner Don Garber recently told ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas that Beckham’s desired franchise in Miami will not come to fruition unless a downtown site is found for a soccer-specific stadium. Beckham has had initial troubles in securing land for a proposed stadium that he and his ownership group are planning to privately fund. Recent reports indicated Beckham’s group were listening to Broward County, but Garber does not seem keen on that idea.
“Miami remains a top priority for us, but we are mindful of the challenges we had in the past and must have the right ownership group and stadium location,” said Garber. “David has been working to secure additional partners, all if approved, would be terrific MLS owners. David and his partners have not yet been able to secure a site that we believe provides the proper access and iconic presence that will help ensure success.
“We remain focused on a downtown Miami location, and we will not expand to Miami unless we have a downtown site for the stadium.”
While Garber’s comments regarding Beckham’s additional partners is intriguing considering nothing has been revealed publicly in recent months about who the former English international is bringing on board, the main message is that Beckham and his group need to find a site in downtown Miami in order to get an expansion team launched in that market.
Beckham, who announced his plans to use his discounted expansion franchise fee in Miami in February, has seen two sites already turned down. A location in PortMiami received enough opposition to kill Beckham’s dreams of building a stadium there and then some political hurdles prevented his group from filling in a boat slip near the AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the NBA’s Miami Heat.
The preference for a stadium in the popular South Florida metropolis that is Miami over a city in Broward County is in part due to the fact that the now-defunct Miami Fusion struggled to gain much attention from Miami citizens while playing in Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale.
What do you think of Garber’s comments? Think he should be more flexible and allow Beckham to explore options such as Broward County? Do you see this Miami franchise happening at this point?
Share your thoughts below.