Because of difficulties in building a new stadium, Miami and David Beckham are no longer locks for a new MLS expansion franchise, according to commissioner Don Garber.
Beckham and his investors pitched Miami and Miami-Dade County officials on a new waterfront stadium near American Airlines Arena. But elected officials rejected those proposals, with city officials steering the Beckham investors to an alternative site near Marlins Stadium in Little Havana. MLS and Beckham rejected that site, and so we end up in a situation where work on a new stadium has stalled in recent months. From the New York Daily News:
“If we can’t get the right stadium, we can’t go to Miami. We have been challenged to find a site that we believe will be successful,” Garber told Reuters at the SoccerEx Americas Forum in Barbados last week.
“I’m neither optimistic [nor] pessimistic.”
Beckham has the opportunity to acquire an MLS expansion franchise at a discount as a condition of his contract with the LA Galaxy and put together a heavyweight investment/development firm that included Simon Fuller, creator of American Idol. As noted, the development team has pushed a waterfront downtown site to take advantage of the buzz that will certainly accompany Beckham and crew.
If this is the case — and we hesitate in totally ruling out Beckham and MLS — then it’s good news for the other cities seeking an expansion franchise down the road. Atlanta and New York FC are entering the league next season, and MLS has been looking to expand by two teams past that. Potential ownership groups in Sacramento, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, El Paso and San Antonio have thrown their hats in the ring for an expansion team: if Miami doesn’t end up with a team, that means two of the alternatives could land franchises.
RELATED STORIES: Another prominent Miami politician pushes MLS stadium next to Marlins Park; MLS rejects Little Havana stadium site; Beckham looking at LA?; Beckham MLS bid now seeking Plan C stadium solution; Miami rejects boat-slip site for new Beckham MLS stadium; Miami-Dade: No new MLS stadium for Beckham at port site