David Beckham is heading to Tallahassee, Florida to try and get Florida state legislators on his side.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, Beckham is gathering up support for Major League Soccer’s 22nd franchise in Miami, which he owns along with a business group he’s put together.
Plans for an ambitious stadium for the franchise holding up to 35,000 people on the Miami waterfront were unveiled on Monday, as Beckham aims to bring a stadium close to the heart of the PortMiami complex, much to the annoyance of cruise ship companies.
Speaking with reporters on Monday, Beckham was upbeat but considerate when discussing his plans to bring a downtown soccer-specific stadium to Miami. The former LA Galaxy, Manchester United and Real Madrid star wants to get cruise ship companies on his side, despite intending to build Miami’s MLS stadium on the site that cruise companies have earmarked for future expansion of the world’s busiest cruise port.
“I want to change their minds,” Beckham said. “I don’t want to be an enemy to the people that are opposed to the stadium. I want to work with them.”
Beckham is heading to Tallahassee to ask for state aid for the stadium on Tuesday, after the global soccer icon insisted during the franchises unveiling that he will not seek local money to build the stadium, as he and his consortium will fund the stadium privately. However the Englishman has hired a lobbyist and is reportedly seeking around $2 million per year for the stadium, the same amount that the recently developed SunLife and American Airlines arena received from the state.
“We want to be treated like every other franchise,” Beckham said. “We’re not asking for anything more or anything less.”
The ambitious plans for the stunning complex will see fans walking across a footbridge over the water to the stadium, and the sweeping roof design will place it as an iconic building in the heart of downtown Miami. It will be an incredible addition to MIA and will put MLS at the heart of the city.
However, like any project of this stature, there are several speed bumps in the road. Let’s see if Becks can get through one of the first and get the state of Florida on board to help with funding.