Built to Fail: David Beckham’s Nightmare

Giancarlo Navas/ Staff Writer

Major League Soccer is at long last is set to return to South Florida. After a constant will they or won’t they, a kin to a teenage romantic comedy, it was unclear if David Beckham and his group would find a location for their stadium. It felt like every month there was a new proposed site and then a new reason why they couldn’t use that site. It looked bleak.

However, the proposed 25,000 stadium in Overtown looks probable and the MLS might indeed be coming to Miami. The stadium is proposed to be put on North West Sixth Ave. and North West eighth St., extending all the way to Sixth street and State Road 7. But, and there is always a but with the MLS when it comes to having a team in Miami, due to limited space, there will be no parking facilities.

Yes, because of the lack of space in the proposed site, there is only room for a stadium. Nothing else. What Beckham’s group proposed, according to a source, is that fans walk from the train stations and lots near Biscayne boulevard to the stadium. Similar to how fans commute to games in Europe. Singing and waving their team’s flag as they march down beautiful North West Eighth St.

I want everyone to go to google maps and and go the street view from North West First Court to North West Sixth St. along North West Eighth St. and envision the 12 fans the team will attract walking down that street holding flags and singing. Try not to laugh.

Does Beckham know where he is putting this team? Do you picture Miami fans walking in summer heat? The same fans that arrive late to Heat games and don’t show up to Marlin’s games are going to go through that hassle?

Not to mention in the dead of summer, where the average temperature is 88 degrees with awful humidity and “cools off” in the evening at 80.

What in the seven hells is Beckham thinking?

At the very least, there will be canopy to protect fans from the sun, but as of now there are no plans for an indoor stadium.

The lack of a parking garage is astounding, but also understandable. The Beckham group wanted a downtown location and after failing several times it looked they might have to use a location near Marlins Park in little Havana. So when the Overtown location became available the group jumped all over it.   

So now we face the prospect of a team, in a not so great neighborhood that fans will have to walk through to get to a game. The reason why this is such a failure is because this market is a difficult sports town. It has a professional team in every major sport and still teams like the Marlins, Panther and Dolphins suffer from attendance problems if they aren’t contending for a championship.

Even Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado felt that the notion of fans walking to the stadium was out of place for Miami.

“I don’t think there is that kind of culture — even the fans that used to walk in their country, they’ve gotten used to their cars,” said Regalado.

How do you think it will go for a team that is in an inconvenient location, that overlaps with basketball season and will struggle early on as expansion teams usually do? Because the Beckham group is building their own stadium they don’t need to sign a lease that will keep the franchise in town for X amount of years. If the team loses money after five years and has low attendance numbers the team could easily sell the team to an owner that would move the team to a city like Charlotte.

Beckham’s group paid 25 million for for the franchise fee, which is considerably lower than the usual 100 million, and in five years after MLS has stopped expanding, the fee will go even higher. Making this team a great investment. The lowered franchise fee is due to a contract clause Beckham had when he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy, which would provide a way into getting an expansion team.

The kicker is that discounted franchise fee has an expiration date that is soon. Beckham needs to get this stadium deal done now.

But if the team moves what will the group do with the stadium? Because it is no bigger than the FIU stadium, it is an easy lease to UM or lower division soccer clubs like the Fort Lauderdale Strikers or the new North American Soccer League club Miami FC. 

This investment is foolproof. If the team succeeds, great, David Beckham has brought an MLS team to one of this world’s marquee cities. And if it fails, he and his group still have options to walk away with money. It’s a win-win and it’s brilliant.

1 Comment on "Built to Fail: David Beckham’s Nightmare"

  1. It is obvious that this article was written by someone who does not live close to this area. I do, in fact I am in Brickell, less than 2 miles away from the proposed site. The location that was chosen by the Beckham group is brilliant, first of all it is located 3 blocks away from the Culmer Metrorail station, yes about the same distance that would take to walk from a parking garage. There are 23 Metrorail stops in Miami and they all have parking lots where fans can leave their car and take the rail. The actual 3 blocks fans will walk is on Route 7 and is being re-done by the city as we speak and it is definitely not a bad walk. It is true that to the east of the Stadium that whole area needs much improvement but that will happen sooner rather than later as Miami World Center and All Aboard Florida are gearing up to build billion dollars worth of new Real Estate. What is also left out on this article is that just 2 blocks south of the Stadium sits the Miami River, with 3 great restaurants and bars. They are: Garcia’s, Casa Blanca, and Seaspice. The last one being so expensive and chic that on the weekends you will find very expensive cars parked right in front. The only danger on that street is that you might get hit by a Lambo or Ferrari, so make sure to look both ways. Cheers!

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