Beckham’s MLS stadium in Miami hits another snag

Getty Images
1 Comment

David Beckham’s Major League Soccer franchise in Miami was officially announced last month in a glitzy ceremony in MIA, but there are still a few loose ends to tie up on the stadium deal in Overtown.

The search for land for a 25,000 capacity stadium almost ended Beckham’s dream to own an MLS franchise, along with other investors, but land in Overtown (less than 2 miles from downtown Miami) has now been purchased and everything looked to be moving ahead smoothly ahead of a 2020 entry in MLS.

Think again.

A report from the Miami Herald states that an appeal has been filed against Beckham and the land his ownership group purchased from Miami-Dade County.

More from the Herald below, as wealthy activist Bruce Matheson has appealed the decision to endorse the deal for three acres of county owned land Beckham’s group bought for $9 million as he offered to pay more for the same parcel of land.

“In granting David Beckham and partners a no-bid deal to pay $9 million for three acres of government land for a soccer stadium, Miami-Dade County gave the venture “a secret discount from the taxpayers” by avoiding the chance for better offers, lawyers fighting the proposed Overtown complex said in court papers filed late Monday…

“In 2017, Miami-Dade commissioners agreed to sell the Beckham partnership the three-acre county truck depot for $9 million without seeking other offers, citing the state’s economic-development law to justify the no-bid arrangement. A judge endorsed the deal in an October ruling, but Matheson appealed…

“The county requires developers in exclusive negotiations to pay market rate for government property and to agree to a package of hiring requirements and other benefits to local businesses and residents. The Beckham group agreed to create 50 permanent jobs at its stadium in exchange for the no-bid purchase.”

Here we go again…

Beckham’s bid hasn’t gone smoothly since the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy midfielder announced his intentions to host his cut-price MLS expansion side — as part of his playing contract with LA back in 2007 he was allowed to purchase an MLS franchise for $25 million upon retirement from the game. The current expansion fee is over $150 million — in Miami in 2014.

Several stadium sites have come and gone since then and at the event last month to unveil the franchise, Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure revealed he and Beckham were ready to throw in the towel after years of searching unsuccessfully for a stadium site in Miami.

Then local construction magnates Jorge and Jose Mas stepped in to join the ownership group and help finalize the bid last November, with the expansion franchise officially awarded earlier this month.

How serious is this? It seems to be no more than a slight speed bump which could delay the final deal as Beckham’s group have until June to close on the county land.

Beckham has stuck to his plans to house an MLS franchise in Miami up until now and is unlikely this legal appeal will see him pull out with a senior adviser to Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez quoted by the Herald as saying the deal was a “transparent process based on solid legal grounds.”

That said, Matheson previously fought plans to expand the Miami Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne and won, with the tournament since moving to Miami Gardens, so Beckham and Co. will be wary.