David Beckham’s plans to bring his own football team to Miami were dealt a big blow after the city rejected his plans to build a waterfront stadium.
Shunned with that most American of words, Miami city officials deemed it “inappropriate” to build a soccer stadium on prime waterfront real estate, right next to the American Airlines basketball arena, home to the Miami Heat. According to the BBC, finalizing a stadium is the first step Beckham needs to take before Major League Soccer (MLS) can approve the launch of a new club. It’s the second time Beckham has tried to open a stadium in the city's port district after the first attempt was shot down with resistance from cruise lines like Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Despite all the hysteria around the World Cup, Miami's Beckham rejection suggests that soccer isn’t being fully embraced by one of America’s biggest sport cities. Other sports also tend to take priority. The city recently — and controversially — provided the Miami Marlins baseball team with $500 million in public dollars for the construction of a new stadium, so perhaps they just don’t want to spend any more money to clog up the city with giant arenas and view-spoiling construction projects. Beckham’s proposed $250 million stadium will seat 20,000 people, include restaurants and a nightclub, and will cost an estimated $250 million. He's also agreed to pay rent on publicly owned land.
Beckham announced the launch of his Miami football franchise back in February and was immediately met with criticism. As The Independent’s Steve Tongue reports, Beckham’s celebrated move from Real Madrid to L.A. Galaxy in 2007 was partly dependent on the fact that in the future, he would be entitled to purchase an MLS franchise. Beckham’s business group, Beckham Miami United, said its looking at alternative locations for the stadium site. There is a already-existing stadium option, but the Sun-Life Stadium, where the Miami Dolphins play, is considered too big and far away from the city center.