David Beckham said to be planning 75,000-seat soccer stadium in Miami
If you’re not a big fan of David Beckham you might want to spend the next four years or so under a rock because the former Galaxy midfielder seems to be making news every day in his effort to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Miami.
But even the league has said it’s not likely to approve expansion to South Florida before the 2017 season.
The latest news has Beckham planning a 75,000-seat stadium in the Miami area, one that would be surrounded by shops and a hotel. Beckham has reportedly already scouted out a location -- although he’s not saying where that is.
However, the Miami Herald is reporting Beckham has approached Miami-Dade County about building a stadium near the seaport, not far from the Miami Heat’s home at American Airlines Arena. According to the Herald, that proposal calls for a 25,000–seat facility.
The former English national team captain has been casting about for investors as well, with one of the interested being Liverpool FC co-owner LeBron James, a Miami resident who also dabbles in basketball.
They’d better be ready to spend, though, if the stadium reports are true because it’s unlikely the Beckham group will get much in the way of public financing for its new stadium. Jeffrey Loria and the Miami Marlins poisoned that well with the construction of Marlins Park, the two-year-old 37,000-seat baseball stadium-cum-boondoggle that is expected to cost taxpayers more than $2.4 billion over the next 40 years.
MLS and its predecessor, the North American Soccer League, both tried franchises in South Florida and both teams folded, partly because of poor attendance. That may make Beckham’s visions of a football-sized venue for his team a bit optimistic. MLS is known to prefer smaller, more intimate facilities such as the 27,000-seat StubHub Center where Beckham’s former team, the Galaxy, plays.
Earlier this month MLS gave the green light to an expansion team in Orlando, which will join the league alongside a new New York team in 2015. That will bring to 21 the number of teams in MLS. The league has said it believes the next wave of expansion will add Atlanta in 2017. It’s possible the proposed Beckham team could join the league then as well.
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