David Beckham’s Miami MLS Project Ain’t Looking Too Hot Right Now
There's not a whole lot David Beckham doesn't get. The man has a golden effigy at a remote Buddhist Temple in Thailand. He's about as close to a God as a mortal can be. So when everyone heard he was investing in an expansion MLS franchise, it was a forgone conclusion that the developed world's worst domestic soccer league would make it happen -- and they have. Miami Beckham United officially has a seat at the Major League Soccer board of governors meeting next month.
Beckham just doesn't have a stadium. Or land to build one on.
[Miami Herald] In an unusually blunt interview with the Miami Herald Editorial Board, Tim Leiweke, Miami Beckham United’s point man on stadium negotiations in Miami, said Thursday that the partnership continues to make progress with the city of Miami to purchase city land across the street from Marlins Park and transfer it to the Miami-Dade School Board. But he said parallel negotiations to purchase six private parcels on the proposed stadium footprint have stalled as land owners haggle for unreasonable prices.
“They know what we’re doing and unfortunately they’ve let that create an absolutely unrealistic conversation. They can absolutely blow this deal up, and they probably will blow this deal up,” he said. “We’re willing to overpay. We just don’t want to be the stupidest guys on the face of the earth.”
If the negotiations fail, Leiweke said Beckham’s group -- which has already whiffed on stadium sites at PortMiami and next to the AmericanAirlines Arena -- has yet another fallback plan at an undisclosed site. He faulted Miami Beckham United mostly for the team's problems, saying "this has not been the smartest negotiation I've been a part of."
The initial plan was to build a waterfront stadium downtown, which ultimately fell through because of opposition from the neighborhood; then they turned to the land where the Orange Bowl once stood. According to The Miami Herald, that swath of land is a collection of "city-owned lots, a private apartment complex and some commercial property," whose owners are allegedly asking for an astronomical amount of money from the Beckham group. While we cannot confirm which party is being more unreasonable here -- Beckham's people or the landowners -- we're confident the Marlins won't have a hip, new neighbor kicking balls around next door anytime soon.
If the fate of soccer in Miami rests on this deal, don't hold your breath.
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