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Don Garber: MLS Miami bid 'at the finish line'

Photo by Robert Mayer/USA Today Sports

After several years of steps both forward and backwards, MLS Miami is getting closer to putting all of the pieces in place, according to MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

Speaking to ESPN, Garber said that he expects a vote on Miami to occur at Wednesday’s MLS Board of Governors meeting. It’s not guaranteed, Garber says, but the commissioner did say he’s seen plenty of progress made over the past several months to indicate the bid is moving closer to success.

“We’re at the finish line,” Garber told ESPN. “We’re not over the finish line yet. We’ve been working hard for a really long time. We feel like we’ve got everything where we need it to be.

“We’re going to talk to our board about it,” added Garber. “We’re in a position to ask for a vote [on Miami], but at this point we’re not sure whether we’re actually going to take it at that point. We’ll know a lot more on Wednesday.”

Two months ago, David Beckham and co. purchased a a three-acre plot from Miami-Dade County for $9 million. The plot, combined with a previous plot purchased from a separate party, should be enough to build a stadium if the city is to approve zoning changes for the potential site. A recent lawsuit from wealthy local landowner Bruce Matheson seeks to block the county’s sale, but Garber isn’t concerned.

When, and if, Miami gets approved, the focus can turn towards other bids. Garber recently visited Nashville while Detroit grabbed headlines recently with further development around their own stadium plan. There have been steps backwards in St. Louis and San Diego but, by and large, Garber is pleased with how the expansion race has gone thus far.

“I read something the other day about whether or not we’re disappointed by where we are. We couldn’t be more excited about where we are,” he said. “The news out of Detroit was very positive, clearly the groundbreaking in Sacramento was very, very positive, my trip to Nashville was off the charts. And there remain lots of different, great markets for us to go to. At some point, somebody is going to be really disappointed, and we’re going to have to figure out how to manage that.

“We never thought we’d have 12 expansion prospects. When they came out, every single one of them was energized, and looking to be one of the next four. We will end up with way more teams when we get to the decision point than we’re going to have slots for. There’s going to be lots of maneuvering, and teams moving up and moving back.”

12 comments
  • BW in KC

    I’m glad there is no parking at this stadium. Americans hate driving their own car. And they hate tailgating.

    Like

    • TheFrenchOne

      Haha I hear what you’re saying. But I went to the new Orlando stadium in April, which was basically dropped in the middle of a not-so-great neighborhood and provides no parking. What it did was allowed the neighbors to rent out their driveways and front yards for parking and cook/sell food to spectators walking in. I parked at a tiny little church, along with 7-8 other cars. I’m not sure if that’s what the club had in mind, but it seemed fairly organic and may be a great way to endear a club to the neighborhood.

      Like

      • BW in KC

        I did not know that about Orlando. We shall see how this all goes down.

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      • SilverRey

        The Union’s Talen Energy Stadium is similar in that a lot of the locals do parking in their yards. Granted they also have parking lots for tailgating, but it’s a good way to at least get a little money into the surrounding community since the city and the team seem to have abandoned any additional positive development in the area.

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      • bottlcaps

        The LA Coliseum built in the 20’s had (has) very little of its own parking at Expo park, and so will the LAFC (but its a lot smaller) People would park at the myriad of private lots around the area and next to USC, and frequent the restaurants in the area. The coliseum held about 100K fro Rams and USC games in the 70-80’s. Subsequent renovations have reduced the seating to 70K, but that is still 3x bigger than Miami’s proposed stadium.
        Beside, Marlin Park is less than 2 miles away, and there is still plenty of boat parking (lol) in the nearby marina’s.

        Like

  • r.benjamin

    Whatever happens with Miami will go on Garber’s tombstone huh.
    I’ve heard good things about Orlando’s walk up situation.. flavor and local opportunity.

    Did Garber just name the frontrunners? Sacramento, Detroit and Nashville?

    Like

  • Marta In Miami

    Original SBI Mafia here! Die hard aFUSIONados (Had over 5000 emails in SG prior to social media invention!) have been fighting for team return since 2002! This area is perfect, new bullet train 5 blocks away connects to Ft Lauderdale, WPB and Orlando. Three metrorail stops as it goes north then bends west of site…2 blocks, 5blocks near train, and 7 blocks from Government Center big parking area and plaza fans can gather… People mover mini elevated car loop drops there too 7 blocks… Can run trolleys to Marlins 5,500 spaces or walk 10 blocks…vista will be awesome.

    Neighborhood cool funky River vibe…new bars opening and hotel condo projects, very high end right nearby. Spring Garden due west old historic homes in the Millions little pocket of wealthy area.

    It was a cruise ship vallet parking lot and this stadium will benefit the community with MLS Works more than another condo or hotel would! Plus a 5 story stadium used once a week is less traffic than a 20 story hotel!

    Fans are excited and will be like Old Arena for hockey and NBA Heat…parked a walked a few blocks or metrorailed it. This site keys you park at Bay side and take a water taxi…awesome just west of Wynwood Arts District easy uber taxi ride.

    Vamos Fusion!

    Like

    • Old School

      Despite the credentials you provide each time this subject comes up, the fact remains: your city sucks as a sport town.

      Vamos Reality.

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      • Scott

        Might be true, but the same was said for Atlanta over and over. We are doing OK so far. Maybe Miami will do all right as well. I also wonder where the rather vocal Silverback fans have gone. I memory serves they predicted that they would outlast ATLUTD.

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      • TheFrenchOne

        Old School:

        We’ve all heard that pronouncement about Miami and Atlanta being sucky sports town. I have no actual data to back this up, but I wonder if a city that is a lousy sports town for baseball, football and basketball may be just the right place for soccer. Maybe soccer fans care less about being pampered in sparkling stadiums and are more about community. I’m just guessing. Someone smarter than me (or with more time to do google this) can provide more insight.

        ATL United has surprised me and a lot of other MLS fans so far, and that’s *before* they get into the fancy stadium. Maybe the cavernous Falcons stadium and turf will turn fans off, but I’m guessing those fans who have been averaging 40,000+ per game will continue to come to the games. Maybe the same will be true for Miami.

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  • Marta In Miami

    We will enjoy beating NYNJ MetroBulls and DC Scum on a regular basis again ; )

    Like

  • two cents/lowercase letters guy

    thank you marta and French one. the picture you guys paint about this sounds more positive.

    Like

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