By FRANCO PANIZO
Things are about to get a little more serious in Miami.
David Beckham, MLS commissioner Don Garber and Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez are hoping to hold a news conference in the South Florida metropolis next Wednesday in an effort to rally support for a privately funded soccer-specifc stadium and give an update on the status of an MLS expansion team in Miami, according to a report from the Miami Herald.
Gimenez has reportedly confirmed the date of the news conference and added that another related event could take place on Tuesday night. He also said that during a three-hour long meeting on Tuesday with Beckham’s group, Miami Beckham United, a timeline was set to complete negotiations by the end of the summer, regardless of if a stadium plan is in place or not.
Miami Beckham United presented Gimenez with 30 sites they had scouted for the potential construction of a 25,000-seat stadium during that meeting, but the mayor said only five of those are viable options. Beckham’s preferred location on the waterfront lot in PortMiami is one of those as is another county-owned parcel near Marlins Park in Little Havana and the Miami River.
Beckham’s team, which has not yet been named, would reportedly begin playing in MLS in 2017 and not 2016 as had previously been hinted at by the global icon and former player.
Beckham has long been linked with bringing an MLS team back to Miami at a discounted expansion rate of $25 million. Miami has been without a franchise since the league contracted and removed the Fusion back in 2001, but MLS has recently taken a confident stance regarding a potential return there.
Garber said earlier this month that an announcement of sorts would be made in early February, which could mean that Beckham will finally formally announce his Miami expansion bid. Beckham has publicly expressed interest in landing a Miami MLS team, but has not yet officially launched his campaign to do so.
What do you think of Beckham and Garber’s plan to try and rally support for a SSS in Miami? Crossing your fingers that a stadium deal in PortMiami is reached? What would you like the club’s name to be?
Share your thoughts below.
I wonder if the people who constantly harp about the Miami Fusion every time an article like this crops up are even aware that the Fusion weren’t actually in Miami. Now if it turns out that Beckham’s team will be playing in a renovated high school football stadium in Ft. Lauderdale then by all means fire away. Until then though, enough with the “well Miami already had a team and didn’t support it” nonsense.
For the record I’m from Missouri and don’t have a strong opinion one way or another on a Miami team. I’d much rather have a team in STL but apparently finding a competent ownership group for that isn’t happening (Collinsvile, IL? Seriously? No.)
If the stadium is “Privately Funded” why does the commish have to “rally support for it.” It seems like this is one of those deals where they get massage / torture the numbers to make it appear “private” and then stick the taxpayers with the bill. We get a lot of that here in Vegas and if you don’t believe me I have a monorail to sell you.
You really have to ask?
From reading the comments in the multiple Miami Herald reports on the team, there does appear to be some opposition for the following reasons:
1) The stadium (Building) will be privatley financed, but it will most likely be built on county land. Will the team pay a fair market rate for that lease? If not, then many would consider that a county subsidy.
2) After other stadium deals fleeced the city, they just don’t believe that it will be 100% privatly financed.
Shhh! You’re supposed to just go along with the “sports make money for the city” propaganda. To deny it is just…well, it’s just un-American!
So lets stop horsing and basically miami is in but will tgey start in 2015 or 2016. I say just bring them in with orlando and let miami play at marlyns stadium.
Another thing, atlanta has been out of the expansion conversation for a while and basically they will be an NFL/MLS team, nothing to.hide there.
As for future expansion, i dont like atlanta but MLS needs it but spot 24 needs to go to some west market like sacramento or my wish vegas baby.
I’ve heard that they will not enter the league, if they are approved for expansion, until 2016 at the earliest. MLS probably thinks three expansion teams in one year would be too much. This would have an effect on the expansion drafts.
Pet peeve alert:
The league didn’t “contract” the Fusion. It eliminated them completely. Had it contracted them, they would still exist, just in some kind of reduced form.
The league itself is what contracted.
Yes, Major League Soccer is a single-entity league. The franchises that operate within MLS are not independent of one another, although some may have different owners. MLS has a similar set up to the NFL, which is the richest most profitable sports league in the U.S. This isn’t surprising due to the fact that Don Garber used to work for the NFL.
Don Garber has done very well building the League.
That said, it’s crazy how all the guiding principals that once guided his decision have been chucked over-board for certain, key interests. “Regardless of if a stadium plan is in place or not”? For a city that missed the boat once already, I would want this deal be as tight as a drum, if I was him.
Is Don planning on retiring soon, or something? Looking for another gig? It seems his focus has been getting NYC2 and Miami done, regardless of how rough the deal might be. Hate to say it but it resembles Sepp Blatter bidding out 2018 and 2022 at the same time: get it done, take the glory, then let your successor deal with it.
At that point, Don will be off to his next gig and, well, Sepp and Mephistopheles will be enjoying a table for two at the Fourth Circle Cafe.
CS: “Is Don planning on retiring soon, or something? Looking for another gig? It seems his focus has been getting NYC2 and Miami done, regardless of how rough the deal might be.”
Could just be confidence…or over-confidence. The league is stable, growing, etc. So Garber may not feel the need to be so cautious anymore. The thinking: Take a risk or two (or three or four, if you consider the recent big money player signings) and if they don’t work out, the league will still survive—but if they do work out, the payoff is huge.
Have you even been to NYC? It’s really dense there, plus it took the Yankees and Mets years to get a new stadium built. If you want to do business inside NYC youre going to have to deal with the hassle. Garber and the MLS worked for years on getting a second team in NY and they got the Yankees and Qatari Billionaires. I dont care who else you could recruit to build a team in NY, none of them are going to have more power, influence, and resources than the NYC FC group has. I dont think the decision was rushed, its not perfect, but come on dude its NYC! If you wanted something that was easy and quick, build in New Jersey!!
It seems that the league is just in a different place right now. Garber is not looking for stability as he was when it was vital for teams to own their own stadium. He is looking to break through tradition and grow the sport into a power in the US sports landscape. In order to do that any time soon, he will have to take some risks and be bolder with some strategies.
Adding to that: The league will always evolve. It is a long way from it’s destination, and it will need to change a lot in order to reach it’s goals.
Well said. What happened to having a pre-existing fan base ready to snatch up season tickets which would then generate interest to building the stadium and local business/ economy? Of all the places in the U.S. that deserves a big time football team….Miami ain’t it and no amount of coaxing or strategery will make this guy a believer.
Yes you need all those things for cities like Portland. But this is Miami cities like this, Atlanta, and New York get their own rules. Its the same for all sports.
Also, it’s where beckham wants to be, what’s don going to say? No?
You always have something negative to say about Miami. I understand you hate this city and the possibilities of us having a MLS team. But geez, you don’t have to bomb every Miami thread with your rhetoric.
MLS would be foolish not to have a team in Miami in the long run. I’m not speaking as a fan but from a perspective of business.
I’m from miami too. Since you’re from miami you should no first hand how fickle our fan base is down here. Why I don’t think we’ll collapse, we’ll more than likely become the miami marlins soccer equivelant.
Then do us a favor and don’t attend. Stand on the sidelines and watch the fickle crowd of supporters go in and out of the stadium every match.
Miami is the WORST sports town in America. My how quickly we forget they already had a team and it folded. What will change? Absolutely nothing. They’ll have more money and stick around longer because of it, but the turnout to their games will give it a very old-school MLS feel, which is definitely not a good thing. Terrible move by MLS and Garber — They’re getting NASL level cocky. Wasn’t that the point of MLS? That we would never be the NASL? Those who think people are bashing Miami to bash Miami are stupid. I really, really like Miami and wouldn’t mind living there at all. But that doesn’t make it a good sports town. It just isn’t. If Marlins BASEBALL can’t succeed in a Cuban-heavy town with a gorgeous new stadium, there is no way that MLS can work. I am greatful for everything Becks did for soccer in America, but this is only going to set us back.
In Florida, college sports have the biggest following among residents. Gators, Seminoles, sometimes Hurricanes games usually sell out. However, a lot of Floridians aren’t exactly die hard fans more fair weather/bandwagon. Miami’s premier sports teams include: Heat, Dolphins, and Marlins. Attendance at Marlin’s games is abysmal, Heat attendance is fair (most people come during the playoffs) but otherwise underwhelming given the star players and success they have had and the Dolphins have a bit of empty seats in their stadium as well but the Dolphins haven’t been NFL contenders for some time now.
The way I see it, just like any big city team, if Miami gets a soccer team they’ll have to be championship contenders from the start, especially since many people probably aren’t aware of Major League Soccer. That means having a strong competitive team, a ideal stadium location and recognizable soccer stars playing for them. They’re definitely going to have to go big to get peoples interest right away, maybe bringing in a Ronaldo type player etc.. and winning games from the onset.
Ok, I buy that — but is this possible? I kind-of doubt it. There are 4 big time clubs in MLS currently: Seattle, LA, NY and (now) Toronto. One day MLS will be a top league but we are probably decades (not 2022) from that being a reality. In the meantime, there are only so many big name players that are going to want to play here….time will tell.
For the record, I 100% hope I am 100% wrong. I really, really, really, want this to work out. I am the biggest MLS boaster around. I love it and am proud of how far it has come. But it came this far because the league (to this point) has made safe, measured decisions and contracted when they had to. It just feels to me like they may be getting a little cocky — and that’s why I’m so worried about it.
I think that MLS realizes that right now they have the opportunity to capitalize on the growing popularity of soccer in this country. Their expansion plans are no doubt ambitions but it is in fact crucial to their survival and success long term. To be a big league in this country you must have a true national footprint. Garber used to work for the NFL so he knows the significance of this.
Things that are different:
1) an Interested owner with a known name
2) A much closer rival than Tampa Bay ever was for the Fusion–Orlando city
3) MLS is now a much better sponsored/followed/known league
4) A good TV Deal, back in the days of the Fusion the league was paying for airtime
5) a much larger expansion fee–meaning the owners will have already invested a good amount and now need to protect that investment
6) Actual stars in MLS. Lots of them.
7) Actually playing games in Miami
8) Soccer Specific Stadium apparently
9) Beckham has real ties to some of the best clubs and players in the world and now with the DP structure he can bring up to 3 in.
10) More soccer fans than ever before, and more MLS fans than ever before.
11) MLS has succeeded in other “non-sports fan towns”
12) how many more do you need? Guess what, if it doesn’t work he can just relocated, that’s happened before but hadn’t when the Fusion were eliminated.
That’s all well and good BUT Miami is a totally different animal. This isn’t Gainesville or Orlando. This is south beach and movie stars man. I’d support an MLS team to the fullest and some of my friends who have a passing interest would go to a game or two but that’s it. Christ sakes we can’t even sell out the best team of the second most popular sport with arguably the best player to ever play the game, every game. What does that tell you?
MLS is all about gimmicks. Football is not as important to them as becoming famous is.
I think we’re entering a risky period in the league because while overall health has improved, many teams still are not making money, and instead of consolidation along prior parity lines he’s drifting towards the NASL approach of expansion and increased salary competition.
I think NYC can support 2 teams although I’m not sure if it’ll be better attended than the old Metrostars once it’s rolling. I think the Florida ideas are mistakes. A 20 team league is plenty and we have no inherent need to expand.
Good thing there is a lot of star power and money behind this. In Miami it is going to need it.
Key takeaway is the date, 2017, from all this. It isn’t a rush job anymore.
The team won’t be called “Miami Beckham United” though will it? Then again, as a RBNY supporter, I guess I can’t really talk about stupid team names.
The name Red Bull is not bad…but when the soft drink label, sponsorship etc.. gets added it becomes corny.
Its just the name for the investment group. Although you have “West Ham” So “Beck Ham” or a nick name of “The Hammers” could be used 😉
If you were to go by some of his clubs the Miami United, Real Miami, or AC Miami could be options based on that. Beckham is a brand….but it’s been more for fashion and luxury so not sure he really needs to promote the Beckham brand with a team named after himself. People know he is (part) owner. The last thing he would want is to risk his brand being brought down having the Chivas of Miami for example.
Miami has enough glitz so the club and Becks would get more branding out of Miami being the focus of the club name and not his.
Beck Ham is kind of funny. Maybe as a goofy nickname, like the Gals or Smurfs.
“Real” is a ridiculous name for any American club, unless Becks is planning to get a king or queen to give the club royal approval. (Sorry, RSL fans – I respect your organization and admire quite a few of your players, but the name is Euro-pretentiousness taken to an absurd level.)
It’s not Euro-pretentiousness taken to an absurd level. It’s just dumb. And extremely Euro-ignorant, actually.
Real is goofy and as you say a non-sequitur. But “Sporting” has snuck by under the radar because it’s better than “Wiz,” and some might say the same of “FCD” versus “Burn” or “NYRB” versus “Metrostars.” The worst names created except for the ones they replaced. Go back to the original MLS teams and look at all the re-brandings…..Clash are now Quakes, etc.
FWIW, it is mildly amusing that the old commie “Dynamo” name lives on in hyper-capitalist Houston. I think that one got snuck by because they reversed it. So you have the San Francisco Red Army, etc., waiting to try.
The Moscow, Kiev and Zagreb clubs, like many of the teams in the former USSR and Yugoslavia were simply named after the industry the players initially came from, same as Lokamotiv in Moscow or Zeljo in Sarajevo represented the railroad workers (or the Potters, Hatters, and Tractor Boys in England for that matter). Red Star and CSKA are some of the few true “commie” names out there.
Hasn’t Beckham been knighted (If not yet, he will be soon)? Thus he is kind of royal, so Real Miami would be fitting 🙂
He only has an obe and he would need to be a kbe or gbe to be called Sir. He could stand for parliament and be The Right Honourable David Beckham obe…lol
If he could somehow become an earl to go with his obe, he could be known as an earlobe.
Spice Boys FC
Will they take the field wearing Beckham briefs?