The future of an MLS expansion franchise in Miami has gone from done deal to question mark, with league officials rejecting a Little Havana site for a new stadium and David Beckham is reportedly looking at taking over the troubled Chivas USA franchise.
Two waterfront stadium sites have already been rejected by Miami and Miami-Dade County officials, and city officials have not been shy about pushing the former Orange Bowl site in Little Havana as a potential stadium site. There’s more than a little self-interest here: city officials made what citizens regard as being a bad deal to build Marlins Park there, but the economics of that deal are improved with a new privately financed stadium to bring in more foot traffic and parking revenue. And there’s also the chance the University of Miami could end up as a tenant in a new stadium in Little Havana, which would require a larger facility: 40,00o or so capacity, as opposed to the 20,000-25,000-seat stadium currently envisioned.
But the Beckham group and MLS are now resisting a new stadium in Little Havana, despite being on record as supporting it back in 2007. Things have changed for MLS in the last seven years, and right now the emphasis is on downtown stadiums:
“No — we’re not considering that location,” MLS President Mark Abbott told the Miami Herald. “Our strong belief is that, to be successful, it needs to be downtown.”
That resistance, especially as elected leaders begin to coalesce around the Marlins site, could make it difficult for Beckham and his investors — who have eyed public land for their mostly privately funded stadium — to find another place they might deem suitable.
But the whole exercise may be for naught: a report in Yahoo Sports says Beckham has been approached by an Asian investment group to be part of their bid to take over the troubled Chivas USA franchise, currently under league control. Beckham made his greatest impact on MLS while playing in Los Angeles, and there’s plenty of room for a new Los Angeles stadium, perhaps even downtown. MLS officials say they’re not talked to Beckham about shifting his attention to Los Angeles, but it’s not illogical to think the Beckham corporate empire — which includes wife Victoria — would fit in well in the Los Angeles sporting scene. The Asian investors are reportedly interested as much in the stadium side of the business as the soccer side, so you can expect a new soccer stadium for Chivas USA should they acquire the franchise — with or without David Beckham.