Beckham in Miami for Stadium Talks
Retired star David Beckham is in Miami to meet with lawmakers and lobby for approval of a proposed stadium on the city’s waterfront.
The 25,000-seat stadium would house a new Major League Soccer franchise and be located near the port of Miami. Beckham went door to door on Wednesday, meeting officials face-to-face at their downtown offices and posing for pictures.
Among those crusading against the stadium is a group led by Royal Caribbean Cruises, whose cruise and cargo operations would be impacted.
“If they want to have a piece of property there … they would have to bear the cost of filling the slip in,” said Miami-Dad Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who listed the cost between $12 and $18 million.
Beckham told Reuters he never expected a “smooth ride” to approval.
“Investors and I will be putting up a quarter of a billion dollars,” said the Englishman.
“We don’t want to bring worries.”
Government Official: Orlando Tricked
One government official says Orlando was misled in granting stadium funding for the city’s forthcoming MLS franchise.
Ted Edwards, a commissioner for Orange County, says other possible MLS cities were given multiple options for new or rebuilt stadiums to attract franchises.
Orlando, meanwhile, only considered building on a site near the existing Amway Center, home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.
“I think we were misled by Major League Soccer,” Edwards told WESH-TV. “I think, [from] the body language I’m getting from other commissioners, I think they were told the same thing.”
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, however, points out that the combination football-soccer stadium being built in Atlanta will cost over a billion dollars, making Orlando’s $84 million investment look affordable by comparison.
“I think it makes a lot of sense, dollar sense and common sense,” she said.
The Orlando club plans to play the 2015 season at the renovated Citrus Bowl before moving to its permanent new home in 2016.
With Eye on MLS, Sacramento Weighs Expansion
Sacramento Republic FC has hopes of jumping to Major League Soccer one day as it plans a possible expansion of its brand new stadium.
The second-tier American club is nearing completion of an 8,000-seat stadium, Bonney Field. However, it sold more than 20,000 tickets for each of its first two matches at its temporary home, Hughes Stadium. The third match sold over 18,000 tickets.
The next match is also expected to be near capacity, and the team has already sold over 5,000 season tickets.
“Right now, nothing’s been decided,” said a team spokesman, according to the Sacramento Business Journal.
However, he added that there is still the possibility of expanding the new stadium. The first match at Bonney Field is scheduled for June 7.
Attendance is a key factor in the club’s hopes of one day making a jump to MLS.
“I think they’re seeing this,” a spokesman said of MLS, “and it’s making a statement.”
By INSIDER’s Nick Devlin