David Beckham’s business partners will meet with the mayor of Miami to discuss their ongoing efforts to build a stadium for an MLS team, one of Beckham’s associates confirmed to the Miami Herald.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, a member of Beckham’s prospective ownership group, told the Herald that he will have a video conference on Friday with Miami mayor Tomas Regalado. Beckham will not be present.
When Beckham signed with the L.A. Galaxy in 2007, his contract included a clause that granted him the right to own an expansion franchise. He announced his intentions to operate a club in Miami in early 2014 but the inability to find a stadium to host the team has delayed the process. MLS has been adamant that it will not grant Beckham’s group an expansion license without a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Miami.
Miami city officials rejected a plan last summer for a 25,000-seat soccer stadium next to American Airlines Arena, the home of the NBA's Miami Heat, after an initial proposal for a waterfront site was strongly opposed by cruise lines operating in the city.
The passing a stadium proposal in Miami is difficult after the city's decision to provide $500 million in public funding to build Marlins Park for the city’s Major League Baseball franchise. With interest, it will cost taxpayers $3 billion. Beckham’s group says it will finance construction of the stadium and pay rent for the publicly-owned land.
The Herald reported in May that Beckham’s group was meeting with outgoing University of Miami president Donna Shalala to discuss the possibility of a shared stadium for the MLS club and Miami’s football team. The Herald now reports that “talks of a joint stadium appear to have cooled.”
County officials had previously offered Beckham’s group use of Florida International University’s football stadium as a temporary measure.
The second-tier NASL announced in May that it will launch an expansion team in Miami in 2016 that will play at a yet to be determined existing stadium in the area.
- Dan Gartland