Marcelo Claure

David Beckham’s Miami MLS team is getting a really, really bad stadium deal

Marlins Park — Miami Marlins

Remember just seven short days ago when it was announced that the city of Miami had voted unanimously to allow the prospective MLS franchise ownership group headed up by David Beckham and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure to begin negotiations with the city over land acquisition and compensation?

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Everyone was so excited and hopefully that finally this was the deal to get done. I cautioned the masses, though: “Much like the ongoing stadium situation in Washington, D.C., I’ll believe this one (Miami) is really happening not when a shovel goes into the ground, but only when the first ball is kicked.”

It wasn’t that I was being a Debbie Downer, but having seen MLS stadium deals fall apart plenty of times before (including in my hometown of Kansas City), I’m conditioned to think that way. On Thursday, Miami Today, a South Florida newspaper with presumably well-placed sources, filed this report on some of the parameters within which a soccer-specific stadium next to baseball’s Marlins Park — the proposed site for Miami Beckham United’s stadium — would have to work.

The list is…uh…extensive, and debilitating for a soccer team next door.

From Miami Today (bolding for emphasis is mine):

One restriction is that soccer can’t sell stadium naming rights until baseball sells its own. But the baseball stadium is in its fourth season and the team still can’t sell those rights because the stadium giveaway deal became a toxic issue.

Further, even if the Marlins someday sell stadium naming rights, soccer can’t sell rights that conflict with the Marlins’ stadium sponsor.

No soccer exterior ads may conflict with a major Marlins sponsor. But if soccer sells an exterior ad that doesn’t conflict, the Marlins can then sign a conflicting sponsor and the soccer sponsor can’t renew.

OK, that’s pretty lame and somewhat petty on the Marlins’ part, but I suppose I get it. You know, in a “does it really matter” kind of way. Whatever. Let’s continue.

Soccer stadium architecture must mesh with baseball’s and not reflect light toward it. The Marlins get to review all soccer stadium plans, specifications and leases before construction or lease execution.

Soccer stadium construction may not interfere with baseball from two hours before to one hour after a ballpark game or an event – events Marlins owners book and profit from.

No soccer could be played until four hours after baseball. The Marlins get first choice of dates and times.

The soccer team can’t schedule any games at home from March 15 to Nov. 15 until the Marlins choose their own dates. The soccer team gets the leftovers, though a soccer team would get 13 Saturday nights yearly that the Marlins leave clear.

All that’s well and good, but if the Marlins change their schedule, guess what? The soccer team automatically loses its reserved dates. It’s all up to the Marlins.

The Marlins, a team with an average home attendance of 21,713 in 2015, are the proud owners of a 42-60 record (13 games out of a playoff place).

Then there are those garages the city built and owns. By contract, the Marlins buy spaces for $10.03 and then resell them for whatever – they’re selling parking July 30 at $15 to $20 a space, but the Aug. 11 game against Boston is $20 to $50 for city-owned spaces the team gets for $10.03.

The baseball contract requires that soccer not pay less than the Marlins do: $10.10 a space by the time a soccer stadium opens. Again, baseball gets first dibs: the Marlins get first choice for games or events from March 15-Nov. 15.

In short summation, the Marlins’ deal is sweetly set up not only to help them succeed — which, again, they aren’t even doing — and restrict a prospective soccer team next door. This isn’t at all what I expected when I remained cautiously optimistic over a stadium being built in Miami, but then again, that’s politics and business.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that Beckham’s group has known about these restrictions from day one — they originally shunned the Marlins Park site in hopes of setting up shop on a waterfront piece of property — and are so desperate to get a deal done in the next three months — when Beckham’s significantly discounted franchise fee of $25 million expires — that they’ll happily accept the above terms and conditions.

Miami commission gives David Beckham’s group, city the go-ahead to negotiate MLS stadium deal

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The “MLS in Miami” leadership group, spearheaded by Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure and former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy superstar David Beckham, has been given the all-clear to begin officially negotiating with the city of Miami to build a brand new soccer-specific stadium which will house a Major League Soccer franchise.

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The investment group, officially titled Miami Beckham United (MBU), was cleared to begin land and a number of other official negotiations with the city after Miami commissioners unanimously voted Thursday to authorize discussions between the two sides.

The location, which was last week revealed to be next door to the Miami Marlins’ baseball stadium in the Little Havana neighborhood, will be built mostly on land currently owned by the city. One of the main points of discussion between MBU and the city will be to determine in what way(s) the city will be compensated for its property. Additional land, both commercial and residential, may have to be purchased, as well.

MBU will meet next week with the MLS board of governors during the league’s annual All-Star week meetings, where a full update is expected to be given to the ownership groups of the league’s 20 current teams and three prospective or future franchises, Atlanta United, Los Angeles FC and Minnesota United, as well as top league officials, including commissioner Don Garber.

[ GOLD CUP: USA upset by Jamaica, 2-1 | Mexico 2-1 over Panama in controversial fashion ]

According to Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, Beckham’s option to purchase an MLS franchise at a severely discounted price of $25 million (recent expansion fees of $70 million, $100 million and $110 million have been paid by the aforementioned groups) is set to expire within the next three months, at which point MBU “just [needs] some kind of recognition that they’re talking to an entity [the city] that does want to talk to them about the possibility of building the stadium,” says Regalado.

After a number of other potential stadium deals have fallen apart in the face of MBU — granted, none as advanced and promising as the developments of the last week — it would be wise to proceed with caution when declaring “MLS is coming to Miami” just yet, because much like the ongoing stadium situation in Washington, D.C., I’ll believe this one is really happening not when a shovel goes into the ground, but only when the first ball is kicked.

Talks begin as Beckham’s group looking to build its Miami stadium next to Marlins Park

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It’s been a rough year for “MLS in Miami” since David Beckham and company announced the intention to bring a franchise to South Florida for the first time since 2001.

Their intention of finding a place for their soccer-specific stadium downtown — an MLS must — has proved trickier and infuriating, leading to rumors that the whole thing could end before it plays a single match.

[ MORE: All the stories in the MLS to Miami saga ]

But Miami Herald reporter Doug Hanks said on Thursday that Miami mayor Tomas Regalado had a Friday meeting scheduled with Beckham and his partners, which inlclude billionaire businessman Marcelo Claure.

Hanks has a summation of the meeting that should make many of the fans aching for an MLS return to Miami feel quite decent.

A good sign, indeed.

Miami MLS team presents alternate stadium proposal with public park


Miami’s proposed MLS stadium may have shifted preferred locations, but that doesn’t change the impressive nature of their goals.

Ownership group David BeckhamMarcelo ClaureSimon Fuller are hoping to make their stadium the jewel of 23-acre museum park project on the water in Downtown Miami.

In a press conference on Thursday, Claure and others repeatedly mentioned that MLS demands a downtown stadium in order for Miami to have a team and promised to produce one of the most iconic teams in the world, as well as a world-class tourist destination.

The group put forth two lists of import. The first included their goals to build the stadium with no city or public money, to respect the referendum and to be the people’s team.

The second was the necessities for the stadium, that it would offer an unrivaled fan experience, an economic asset to Miami, an urban location and transactional experience.

David Beckham to unveil plans for MLS franchise. Will it work in Miami?


Just a heads up, David Beckham could be heading back to Major League Soccer.

And a long-awaited franchise in Miami could be coming with him.

This morning reports say Beckham is close to revealing his plans for a new MLS franchise.

The former LA Galaxy star shared his vision with reporters and hinted that an announcement is upcoming.

“It will be in a few months maybe but it’s important to get it right,” said Beckham. “This is a big decision where I’ll have my franchise and how I’m going to do it. It’s something I’m excited about.”

So we’re talking about Miami, right Becks?

In the past few months a huge sense of inevitability has grown over Beckham bringing MLS to MIA. He was seen touring potential venues with Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure last month (pictured with Beckham, top right) and even took in a Miami Heat game court-side and met LeBron James and various other dignitaries.

Major League Soccer itself hasn’t exactly been too coy about the plans, with many executives and Commissioner Don Garber stating on several occasions that they are “excited about what’s going on in the Southeast.”

(MORE: MLS expansion in Florida set for 2016?)

But should we be getting this excited about an MLS franchise in a city that had one before but didn’t make the most of it?

Maybe. When the Miami Fusion disbanded in 2001 after poor attendances and many other issues, people questioned whether or not South Florida was a good place for an MLS franchise. But having the team tucked away in Ft. Lauderdale was perhaps the biggest issue and was arguably its biggest downfall, yet several other factors led to the Fusion’s demise. And those doubts about soccer prospering in Miami haven’t drifted away.

However with Beckham’s bid and his comments about “getting it right” it’s just hard to see this being a failure of any sorts. If the stadium is in the right place, people will support the team and Beckham and Claure will no doubt pump millions into the franchise if it gets off the ground.

source: Getty Images
Will Beckham bring MLS to Miami and have his own “LeBron” moment?

(MORE: MLS Exec, “Multiple teams in Southeast could be very successful”)

Perhaps he has other locations earmarked other than Miami? It’s hard to think where, but they’re certainly plenty of other cities across the US that deserve a shout in the MLS expansion merry-go-round. Atlanta? Minneapolis? St. Louis? San Antonio?

Anyway, Miami still seems like the perfect option and location for Becks. The razzmatazz of the tropical paradise and the rich and the famous will see Beckham and his team slot in superbly.

And with USL Pro franchise Orlando City pushing on with their MLS expansion plans, could Florida soon become a hotbed of soccer and rival regions such as the Pacific Northwest? Hold your horses, not so fast. But it’s good to dream. And it seems as though Beckham’s plans are much more concrete than a dream as we wait with baited breath to find out where the franchise he’s backing will land.

A safe bet is that it’ll be within a stones throw of South Beach or one of the other iconic areas of that City. Expect this hype to reach a fever pitch over the coming months. Bring it on.