MLS Commissioner Don Garber is heading to Miami to meet with investors seeking to bring a new team and stadium to the area, as efforts toward both have stalled in the public eye.
The backstory: a group of investors led by David Beckham and American Idol creator Simon Fuller have been working for over a year on a plan for a new stadium. Beckham has the rights to an MLS franchise at a discount as part of his last playing contract with LA Galaxy, and with Miami potentially emerging as a soccer hotbed, it’s a natural for an MLS franchise.
But local officials have rebuffed efforts toward a privately financed stadium, steering the group from downtown waterfront sites. Instead, elected Miami and Miami-Dade County officials have pushed MLS toward a new stadium on a small lot next to Marlins Park, at the old Orange Bowl site. The plus is that infrastructure and parking are on place; the minus is that there’s little room for any sort of associated development. Early in the process Beckham and investors had unilaterally rejected the Marlins Park site; of late their stance has softened, but there’s been little word on the project recently.
And that is a situation Garber wants to rectify, as more decisions about MLS expansion require attention in coming months. From the Miami Herald:
“I remain optimistic and committed to David Beckham and his partners, but until we have more information it’s hard for us to have any answers,” Garber told ESPN FC following Monday’s Los Angeles FC stadium announcement. “There are a number of different sites we’re looking at, but none have popped up out of the pile to give us the sense that there is a deal that can be done immediately. That being said, David and Simon [Fuller] and Marcelo Claure are as focused if not more focused than ever before, so there is no lack of activity. It’s just a lack of any definitive news.”
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