This might be the closest Miami has been of getting a Major League Soccer franchise in over 10 years.
Earlier today, after a meeting between Miami Beckham United and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalso, the city announced a tentative deal with Miami Beckham United to construct a privately financed stadium near Marlins Park, at the site of the old Orange Bowl.
If you find this odd, it’s because one year ago, Beckham’s longtime business partner, Simon Fuller, called the area “spiritually tainted” by the unpopular ballpark financing deal.
While the City of Miami will call this deal a “win”, fans of MLS Miami fans should call this a loss.
There was no “negotiations”, or “compromises” done, this was simply the City of Miami and its politicians bullying Beckham and his group into doing exactly what they wanted from the start.
In March of 2014, Miami Beckham United unveiled its designs for a 25,000-seat European-style, open-air fútbol stadium at PortMiami.
The proposed stadium would have frame full-frontal views of the downtown skyline and bayfront through an undulating canopy and create a new public plaza reminiscent of Rome’s Spanish Steps at the water’s edge on Biscayne Bay.
That project, however, was turned down as Miami-Dade County decided to move ahead with the SkyRise Miami project.
Two months later, in May, Beckham and his group shifted their focus from PortMiami to the Boat Slip adjacent to the American Airlines Arena, which was proposed by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado.
However, that was also turned down.
“Today’s meeting with Mayor Regalado was another positive step toward bringing a world-class soccer club to Miami,” a Miami Beckham United spokesperson said in a statement. “We’re still in the early planning stages and several viable options still exist, but our preferred stadium location is the former Orange Bowl site. [The ownership group] is thrilled by the initial outpouring of support we’ve received from our fans and we’re excited about sharing our plans with the City, County and community soon.”
According to Regalado, today’s agreement helps clear an important hurdle, and Beckham’s group can now go to MLS and establish timelines.
According to Juan Arango from examiner.com:
In order for the stadium to undergo a construction phase, Miami Beckham would have to send an official letter to the city manager. After that happens, the city manager would then bring the letter to the city commission, who would then approve the proposal. After the proposal is approved, then the steps will be taken to secure the lands that are being looked at west of Marlins Park.
The Orange Bowl site might have been Option Z for Beckham and his group, but if the two-time MLS Cup Champion is able to bring top talent, and championships to its Miami team, fans will travel from Orlando to see them play.