With the club’s first home match months less than four months away, there is optimism for the future of Inter Miami CF.
It took considerable time for plans for the MLS expansion squad to be finalized, as an investor group that includes David Beckham spent years lobbying for a new stadium. While the club is still trying to finalize its long-term plan to build a permanent home in Miami, Inter Miami CF will begin play next spring at a 19,000-seat facility being built at the former site of Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale that will anchor the organization’s training academy.
Inter Miami CF marks the latest attempt to launch a professional soccer club in Miami, a market that has long been believed to be ideal for the sport, but where attempts to launch a team have not proven sustainable. That includes the Miami Fusion, an MLS club that competed at Lockhart Stadium from 1998-2001 before ceasing operations. From MLS’s perspective, there are a few factors that should allow Inter Miami CF to gain a foothold in the market, including a strong brand that resonates locally. More from the Sun-Sentinel:
Dan Courtemanche, a vice president at MLS, said he thinks Inter Miami is most poised to succeed because the club’s brand falls right in line with the direction the league is headed.
Courtemanche, 51, said that when he started working for the MLS 21 years ago, the target demographic of the league were suburban parents whose children played soccer. Today, he said the sport’s fan base is younger, more urban and more connected to cultures around the world than ever before.
“MLS is the league for a new America,” he said. “An America that is young, diverse and connected globally due to the internet and social media.” South Florida represents that aesthetic better than any other region in the United States, Courtemanche said.
Courtemanche believes Inter Miami has been smart to build their brand in a way to capitalize on the global appeal of South Florida, and Miami in general.
Inter Miami CF will play its first home match on March 14, squaring off against LA Galaxy.
Rendering courtesy Inter Miami CF.
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