Miami-Dade mayor: Overtown site 'last opportunity here' for MLS expansion

Sports Illustrated

David Beckham's ownership group and its multi-year quest to bring an MLS expansion team to Miami appears to be in do-or-die territory.

At a town hall meeting Wednesday night in the Overtown neighborhood where Beckham's group is attempting to secure land to build the stadium that would pave way for a franchise, Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez offered a path to finality–for better or for worse.

“This is, frankly, I believe our last opportunity here for Miami to have Major League Soccer,” Gimenez told the Miami Herald.

Beckham's Miami MLS partner Tim Leiweke presented plans and a case for the privately-funded 25,000-seat stadium to residents at the town hall, unveiling a new stadium rendering the revealed an open-air venue by the Miami River.

The stadium, according to The Herald, wouldn't open until 2021 at the earliest, meaning the potential franchise may have to play at a temporary venue first. Beckham's group must acquire a nine-acre parcel of land from the county before any stadium can be built, and it brought in an additional investor, Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, to increase its funding and finish off the deal. The stadium will not have parking facilities, and Beckham's group has reportedly promised to create 50 permanent jobs, half of which would be required to pay the county's $15/hour living wage.

“We’re going to be encouraging the use of Metromover, Metrorail, water taxis, ride-sharing,” Spencer Crowley, a lawyer and lobbyist for Beckham's group, told The Herald.

The club would reportedly also arrange for boat and bus shuttles to and from the river and nearby parking garages.

Beckham has come under increased pressure to deliver on his bid, with MLS insinuating that it would go another way if it had to after giving Beckham ample time to do what was necessary to land a team and exercise the ownership option that was built into his contract.

“We’ve all reached agreement, he included, that we’ve all put in an enormous amount of time and money and energy into getting something finalized," MLS commissioner Don Garber said recently at a meeting of APSE editors. "And we all agree it’s time to either move forward or not. And that time is upon us. It’s not a specific day, but that time is upon us."

The league isn't short on options, as it has 12 cities vying for four places after Beckham and Miami secure their prospective place.

<p>What began four years ago finally appears to have hit the finish line on Monday.</p><p>David Beckham and his partners have been awarded an MLS expansion team in Miami after years of setbacks, hurdles and uncertainty. Beckham, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure and MLS commissioner Don Garber were among the dignitaries at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, where the league confirmed the bid.</p><p>The event came nearly four years to the day that the league and Beckham announced plans for a franchise in the city. The club was always contingent on a plan to build a soccer-specific stadium, and after multiple sites fell through, it appears that Beckham and his group have a location in the Overtown neighborhood of the city.</p><p>Garber and Beckham shared the stage again for another press conference to announce the new franchise. You can watch it below:</p><p>A Miami MLS franchise is the second in MLS history. The Miami Fusion began play in the league in 1998 but were contracted soon after in 2001. The league&#39;s footprint in the Southeast has grown considerably in the last few years, with the addition of Orlando City SC and Atlanta United. <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2017/12/19/nashville-mls-expansion-team" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nashville will be joining the league" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nashville will be joining the league</a> as well after being granted an expansion team in December.</p><p>The team name, start date, colors and logo were not unveiled on Monday and will be in the future, according to a league announcement. The <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/mls/article197169104.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Miami Herald reports" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Miami Herald reports</a> that the team will start play in 2020 at a temporary venue before moving to its new stadium in 2021.</p>
MLS Awards David Beckham His Miami Expansion Franchise at Last

What began four years ago finally appears to have hit the finish line on Monday.

David Beckham and his partners have been awarded an MLS expansion team in Miami after years of setbacks, hurdles and uncertainty. Beckham, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure and MLS commissioner Don Garber were among the dignitaries at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, where the league confirmed the bid.

The event came nearly four years to the day that the league and Beckham announced plans for a franchise in the city. The club was always contingent on a plan to build a soccer-specific stadium, and after multiple sites fell through, it appears that Beckham and his group have a location in the Overtown neighborhood of the city.

Garber and Beckham shared the stage again for another press conference to announce the new franchise. You can watch it below:

A Miami MLS franchise is the second in MLS history. The Miami Fusion began play in the league in 1998 but were contracted soon after in 2001. The league's footprint in the Southeast has grown considerably in the last few years, with the addition of Orlando City SC and Atlanta United. Nashville will be joining the league as well after being granted an expansion team in December.

The team name, start date, colors and logo were not unveiled on Monday and will be in the future, according to a league announcement. The Miami Herald reports that the team will start play in 2020 at a temporary venue before moving to its new stadium in 2021.

<p>David Beckham&#39;s ownership group in Miami has released a rendering for a stadium in the Overtown neighborhood, the latest desired site for an MLS expansion bid that kicked off in 2014.</p>
Miami

David Beckham's ownership group in Miami has released a rendering for a stadium in the Overtown neighborhood, the latest desired site for an MLS expansion bid that kicked off in 2014.

<p>The Timbers are adding 4,000 seats as part of a $50 million renovation to Providence Park.</p>
Portland Timbers

The Timbers are adding 4,000 seats as part of a $50 million renovation to Providence Park.

<p>The Timbers are adding 4,000 seats as part of a $50 million renovation to Providence Park.</p>
Portland Timbers

The Timbers are adding 4,000 seats as part of a $50 million renovation to Providence Park.

<p>Atlanta United will share Mercedes-Benz Stadium along with the Atlanta Falcons in a state-of-the-art venue.</p>
Atlanta United FC

Atlanta United will share Mercedes-Benz Stadium along with the Atlanta Falcons in a state-of-the-art venue.

<p>2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.</p>
Minnesota United

2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.

<p>2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.</p>
Minnesota United

2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.

<p>2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.</p>
Minnesota United

2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.

<p>2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.</p>
Minnesota United

2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.

<p>2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.</p>
Minnesota United

2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.

<p>2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.</p>
Minnesota United

2017 MLS expansion team Minnesota will eventually move to its new soccer-specific venue in St. Paul.

<p>Sacramento Republic has been pushing hard for an MLS team, with Don Garber acknowledging the USL side is one of the leaders of the pack for when the league expands to 28 teams.</p>
Sacramento Republic FC

Sacramento Republic has been pushing hard for an MLS team, with Don Garber acknowledging the USL side is one of the leaders of the pack for when the league expands to 28 teams.

<p>Sacramento Republic has been pushing hard for an MLS team, with Don Garber acknowledging the USL side is one of the leaders of the pack for when the league expands to 28 teams.</p>
Sacramento Republic FC

Sacramento Republic has been pushing hard for an MLS team, with Don Garber acknowledging the USL side is one of the leaders of the pack for when the league expands to 28 teams.

<p>Sacramento Republic has been pushing hard for an MLS team, with Don Garber acknowledging the USL side is one of the leaders of the pack for when the league expands to 28 teams.</p>
Sacramento Republic FC

Sacramento Republic has been pushing hard for an MLS team, with Don Garber acknowledging the USL side is one of the leaders of the pack for when the league expands to 28 teams.

<p>LAFC has broken ground on Banc of California Stadium at the site of the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.</p>
Los Angeles FC

LAFC has broken ground on Banc of California Stadium at the site of the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.

<p>LAFC has broken ground on Banc of California Stadium at the site of the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.</p>
Los Angeles FC

LAFC has broken ground on Banc of California Stadium at the site of the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.

<p>LAFC has broken ground on Banc of California Stadium at the site of the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.</p>
Los Angeles FC

LAFC has broken ground on Banc of California Stadium at the site of the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.

<p>LAFC has broken ground on Banc of California Stadium at the site of the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.</p>
Los Angeles FC

LAFC has broken ground on Banc of California Stadium at the site of the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.

<p>LAFC has broken ground on Banc of California Stadium at the site of the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.</p>
Los Angeles FC

LAFC has broken ground on Banc of California Stadium at the site of the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.

<p>Orlando City will be moving from Camping World Stadium to its new downtown stadium in 2017.</p>
Orlando City SC

Orlando City will be moving from Camping World Stadium to its new downtown stadium in 2017.

<p>Orlando City will be moving from Camping World Stadium to its new downtown stadium in 2017.</p>
Orlando City SC

Orlando City will be moving from Camping World Stadium to its new downtown stadium in 2017.

<p>Orlando City will be moving from Camping World Stadium to its new downtown stadium in 2017.</p>
Orlando City SC

Orlando City will be moving from Camping World Stadium to its new downtown stadium in 2017.

<p>Orlando City will be moving from Camping World Stadium to its new downtown stadium in 2017.</p>
Orlando City SC

Orlando City will be moving from Camping World Stadium to its new downtown stadium in 2017.

<p>D.C. United is aiming to put an end to a seemingly never-ending quest to move out of RFK Stadium to its own venue and it claims it will begin play at Audi Field at D.C.&#39;s Buzzard Point in 2018.</p>
D.C. United

D.C. United is aiming to put an end to a seemingly never-ending quest to move out of RFK Stadium to its own venue and it claims it will begin play at Audi Field at D.C.'s Buzzard Point in 2018.

<p>D.C. United is aiming to put an end to a seemingly never-ending quest to move out of RFK Stadium to its own venue and it claims it will begin play at Audi Field at D.C.&#39;s Buzzard Point in 2018.</p>
D.C. United

D.C. United is aiming to put an end to a seemingly never-ending quest to move out of RFK Stadium to its own venue and it claims it will begin play at Audi Field at D.C.'s Buzzard Point in 2018.

<p>St. Louis&#39;s MLS expansion bid has picked up considerable steam, with Don Garber confirming it&#39;s one of two, along with Sacramento, in the lead for spots 24-28.</p>
Potential St. Louis expansion team

St. Louis's MLS expansion bid has picked up considerable steam, with Don Garber confirming it's one of two, along with Sacramento, in the lead for spots 24-28.

<p>St. Louis&#39;s MLS expansion bid has picked up considerable steam, with Don Garber confirming it&#39;s one of two, along with Sacramento, in the lead for spots 24-28.</p>
Potential St. Louis expansion team

St. Louis's MLS expansion bid has picked up considerable steam, with Don Garber confirming it's one of two, along with Sacramento, in the lead for spots 24-28.

<p>St. Louis&#39;s MLS expansion bid has picked up considerable steam, with Don Garber confirming it&#39;s one of two, along with Sacramento, in the lead for spots 24-28.</p>
Potential St. Louis expansion team

St. Louis's MLS expansion bid has picked up considerable steam, with Don Garber confirming it's one of two, along with Sacramento, in the lead for spots 24-28.

<p>A group led by NBA owners Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores is aiming to bring MLS to Detroit with this downtown venue.</p>
Potential Detroit expansion team

A group led by NBA owners Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores is aiming to bring MLS to Detroit with this downtown venue.

<p>A group led by NBA owners Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores is aiming to bring MLS to Detroit with this downtown venue.</p>
Potential Detroit expansion team

A group led by NBA owners Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores is aiming to bring MLS to Detroit with this downtown venue.

<p>A group led by NBA owners Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores is aiming to bring MLS to Detroit with this downtown venue.</p>
Potential Detroit expansion team

A group led by NBA owners Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores is aiming to bring MLS to Detroit with this downtown venue.

<p>The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced their plans to launch an aggressive bid for an MLS expansion spot, full with these renovations to the existing Al Lang Stadium.</p>
Tampa Bay Rowdies

The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced their plans to launch an aggressive bid for an MLS expansion spot, full with these renovations to the existing Al Lang Stadium.

<p>The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced their plans to launch an aggressive bid for an MLS expansion spot, full with these renovations to the existing Al Lang Stadium.</p>
Tampa Bay Rowdies

The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced their plans to launch an aggressive bid for an MLS expansion spot, full with these renovations to the existing Al Lang Stadium.

<p>The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced their plans to launch an aggressive bid for an MLS expansion spot, full with these renovations to the existing Al Lang Stadium.</p>
Tampa Bay Rowdies

The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced their plans to launch an aggressive bid for an MLS expansion spot, full with these renovations to the existing Al Lang Stadium.

<p>The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced their plans to launch an aggressive bid for an MLS expansion spot, full with these renovations to the existing Al Lang Stadium.</p>
Tampa Bay Rowdies

The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced their plans to launch an aggressive bid for an MLS expansion spot, full with these renovations to the existing Al Lang Stadium.

<p>The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced their plans to launch an aggressive bid for an MLS expansion spot, full with these renovations to the existing Al Lang Stadium.</p>
Tampa Bay Rowdies

The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced their plans to launch an aggressive bid for an MLS expansion spot, full with these renovations to the existing Al Lang Stadium.

<p>The group behind San Diego&#39;s push for an MLS expansion team revealed its plans for a shared, 30,000-seat stadium with the San Diego State University football team on the site where Qualcomm Stadium currently stands.</p>
Potential San Diego expansion team

The group behind San Diego's push for an MLS expansion team revealed its plans for a shared, 30,000-seat stadium with the San Diego State University football team on the site where Qualcomm Stadium currently stands.

<p>The group behind San Diego&#39;s push for an MLS expansion team revealed its plans for a shared, 30,000-seat stadium with the San Diego State University football team on the site where Qualcomm Stadium currently stands.</p>
Potential San Diego expansion team

The group behind San Diego's push for an MLS expansion team revealed its plans for a shared, 30,000-seat stadium with the San Diego State University football team on the site where Qualcomm Stadium currently stands.

<p>The NASL&#39;s Indy Eleven emerged as a late contender for MLS expansion, becoming the 12th bid to be submitted to the league.</p>
Indy Eleven

The NASL's Indy Eleven emerged as a late contender for MLS expansion, becoming the 12th bid to be submitted to the league.

<p>USL&#39;s Phoenix Rising FC aims to snag one of MLS&#39;s four expansion berths with this stadium and training field complex.</p>
Phoenix Rising FC

USL's Phoenix Rising FC aims to snag one of MLS's four expansion berths with this stadium and training field complex.

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