MLS Commissioner Don Garber is heading to MIA to speak with David Beckham United, the group of investors who were awarded an MLS franchise for the south Florida city but have yet to nail down a downtown stadium which was a key competent in the deal becoming a reality.
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Garber has long stated his firm stance that unless a downtown location for a stadium in Miami is found, then David Beckham’s plan for his own MLS franchise will not get off the ground.
There have been numerous suggestions for a temporary home for the Miami franchise, including at Florida International University, after several applications for lucrative waterfront spaces downtown were turned down by Miami City Councillors.
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Here’s what Garber had to say on Miami’s stadium efforts as he spoke following another new MLS franchise, LAFC, revealed its plans for a sparkling new stadium in downtown LA on Monday.
“I remain optimistic and committed to David Beckham and his partners, but until we have more information it’s hard for us to have any answers,” Garber said. “There are a number of different sites we’re looking at, but none have popped up out of the pile to give us the sense that there is a deal that can be done immediately. That being said, David and Simon [Fuller] and Marcelo Claure are as focused if not more focused than ever before, so there is no lack of activity. It’s just a lack of any definitive news.”
With Garber heading to St. Louis this week to meet with a group interested in bringing soccer to the Midwest city in line with a proposed new NFL stadium on the waterfront in Missouri, the MLS commissioner also spoke about the ongoing efforts for New York City FC to find a permanent home as they continue to search outside of their temporary base at Yankee Stadium.
“Every city is different, and every opportunity presents itself at different times,” Garber said. “New York City FC has been working really hard on getting a stadium project done. They are so committed. This is an ownership group that really loves our league and loves New York City and is going to do whatever they can to get a deal done. But it’s complicated and these deals take time. Remember, [LAFC] isn’t a year project, it’s almost a 10-year project.”
If Miami takes any longer than a year to figure all of this out, it would seem that MLS will turn its attention to other potential expansion cities like Sacramento, San Antonio and St. Louis. Right now, despite Garber’s optimism, the plans for a second MLS franchise in Florida continue to stall as Becks and Co. struggle to seal a stadium deal.