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David Beckham back in Miami, said to be open to stadium site near Marlins Park

David Beckham 6

Photo by Robert Mayer/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

David Beckham is back in Miami, and a buzz about the city’s chances of landing an MLS team is growing again.

Beckham has been spotted in the South Florida metropolis over the last couple of days, and is reportedly meeting with business partner Marcelo Claure behind closed doors to discuss stadium locations for their proposed MLS franchise. Beckham has apparently even approved the use of land near Marlins Park just west of downtown Miami for his soccer-specific venue.

Earlier this month, the Miami-Dade County commission agreed to propose that location to Beckham as a site for the stadium that he and his group of investors need to gain entry into MLS.

“He mentioned (the site),” Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine told the Miami Herald a day after he was seen with Beckham at fashion guru Tommy Hilfiger’s birthday party. “I think he has a sense of openness and willingness to anything.”

The global icon and his group had previously been opposed to constructing a stadium near Marlins Park — with Beckham’s partner Simon Fuller calling it “spiritually tainted” — but the group has run into frustrating problems finding a suitable place to build a stadium for much of the past year.

That has led Beckham and his investors to reassess all their options in Miami, and the land near Marlins Park looks to be on the table now. Marcelo Claure — another of Beckham’s partners in pursuit of the MLS franchise — reportedly talked to Miami mayor Tomas Regalado last week about the site near the baseball stadium and another one in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood.

“(Claure) said, ‘We’ve been looking for sites and we need to have answers in the next few weeks,’” Regalado told the Miami Herald. “He didn’t say we want to do it here or there. He said, ‘We need to make a decision in the next few weeks.’’’

The MLS expansion race has ramped up in recent weeks. Minnesota United of the NASL is expected to land the third of four franchises that MLS wants to add by the end of the decade, and USL side Sacramento Republic has increasingly drawn attention with its bid.

Miami is competing with Sacramento for the 24th franchise, but seems to be the preferred option. MLS commissioner Don Garber said over the weekend he and league officials plan to head to Miami in a couple of weeks to try and hammer out a deal that would give Beckham a suitable stadium plan.

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What do you make of Beckham being back in Miami? Think the location near Marlins Park is as good as it will get for him and his group? Starting to believe that Miami will get the next MLS franchise over Sacramento Republic?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Beckham and his investors are in this for the obvious financial windfall. Buy a team for $25 mil. Wake up the next day and it’s worth $75mil. Everyday they delay, the more their investment is worth. This is bob Kraft 101 here. This all comes down to how long they can delay until MLS forces their hand.

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  2. The Marlins stadium area is pretty easy to get to for fans, but it would be a big disappointment compared to a waterfront stadium. Part of me feels like if you’re not going to build a waterfront stadium that’s going to be a crown jewel of MLS, don’t even bother.

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  3. Second worse sports town in America (after Atlanta). No matter where this is built, this team will have pathetic support. Go elsewhere!

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  4. With this alleged development, I’m hopeful Garber’s impending visit to Miami will just be long enough to personally escort Beckham onto a plane to fly just slightly north to Tampa. Mr. Beckham, Mr Vinik. Mr. Vinik, Mr. Beckham.

    Vinik owns a ton of real estate in downtown Tampa, set to revitalize/repurpose the area. Waterfront – check. Something resembling international appeal – mostly check. Downtown stadium possibility – check. Friendlier political environment – check. History – check and double check.

    Folks in Tampa are used to Englishmen running soccer teams (Rodney Marsh). Reviving the Rowdies on a D1 scale would be stunning. Haven’t been to Tampa in a while, but there is at a least the appearance of a grassroots soccer culture, while there is also the relative success of the USF team, and Tampa having hosted the US team with good success would also seem to be good indicators. Rivalry with Orlando is already in place, and they are far enough apart that neither team is going to cannibalize the other’s fan base.

    Miami has had their opportunity to get this straightened out, and seem disinterested in moving forward. Garber/MLS/Beckham need to abandon this idea of going to Miami.

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  5. Oh Mr.beckham and Miami. Please take your time. MLS needs Miami and Miami needs a waterfront. Stadium.
    If Miami gets a waterfront stadium, it will be the best stadium in MLS.
    Take your time Beckham united and let Sacramento take the last spot.
    Don’t bend for a sucky stadium location and make MLS Miami a waterfront location no matter what.
    I say let Miami come in 2018 and that’s enough time to get land for a waterfront stadium.
    I also gotta ask, will LA2 and Minneapolis be ready or will they start in a temporary stadium.

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  6. Becks would be settling if he builds any where near the Marlin’s Park. There is no connection to the downtown at that location and nothing that says world class. He needs something east of 95.

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  7. If Miami is that much of a hassle when it comes to getting a stadium Becks should just choose a different location it’s not to late or is it?

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  8. There’s really no reason to rush this, Beckham is still a young guy in terms of owning a team. The league will probably go to 32 teams if not more. Far more important to get everything right.

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    • Agreed. No one wants a half filled stadium near Marlin Park.
      But everyone would be excited about a premier location.

      Take a breather Garber. Don’t rush it.. Go with the Turnkey solid option in Sacramento and let this one bake.

      And besides.. Nurture the groundswell. Don’t try to force the love in Miami.

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      • Well said. Exactly how I feel about it. Waterfront = super exciting, Marlin’s Park area = no thank you. Overtown is between and would be alright, but it feels like a let down after the excitement garnered from all the waterfront options. Even Philly has a waterfront stadium. Come on Miami!

  9. I believe that Miami can be a good market, but only with the right stadium site. And the Marlins site ain’t it. I worry that the Beckham group is feeling the heat with these other expansion teams jumping them in line and will just settle for Marlins park.

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