Miami MLS Stadium
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Miami MLS Stadium

The Miami MLS stadium is a proposed 25,000 seat soccer-specific stadium to be built in Miami, Florida for the yet-to-be-named Major League Soccer expansion franchise in Miami. While the location of the stadium is yet to be finalized, the team's ownership group led by David Beckham has expressed a desire to build on the Miami waterfront; other locations elsewhere in Miami have been offered as fallbacks.

Shortly after the team was announced in March 2014, the group presented a plan to build a 25,000-seat stadium at PortMiami, but opposition from port businesses led to the May 2014 announcement of a second location, on a reclaimed land at Museum Park, with a reduced capacity of 20,000, but that site was also rejected by the city of Miami. The team has announced its intent to build the stadium with mostly private funds. In December 2015, a private site was located, along with a commitment to purchase adjacent land owned by Miami-Dade Sewer, that would not seek public funds or tax breaks.[1]

Major League Soccer has stated that a league approval of the Miami's expansion bid was conditional on the team securing a downtown stadium site.[2]

Location search

PortMiami (2014)

The initial proposal put the stadium at the southwest corner of Dodge Island.

On March 25, 2014, Beckham announced plans to build a 25,000-seat stadium at PortMiami, adjacent to American Airlines Arena in the Downtown area of the city.[3] Under the proposal, the stadium would have been located at the southwest corner of Dodge Island and be accessible by a pedestrian bridge from Biscayne Boulevard and the Miami Heat's American Airlines Arena.[4]

On April 8, 2014, Miami-Dade commissioners refused to let PortMiami relocate a fuel-spill facility that would have needed to move in order to accommodate the stadium and entertainment complex. The stadium plan called for a commercial complex where the facility is located.[5]Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, who had previously proposed developing on the same site,[6] formed the Miami Seaport Alliance (MSA), a coalition of companies and unions based in the port, and led the opposition to the stadium plan.[7] Political strategist Joe Slade White created an advertising campaign for MSA, which later won a national award for best public affairs advertising,[8] claiming that a stadium would worsen traffic problems and interfere with the port's plans to expand and handle increased cargo.[9] Beckham's real estate adviser argued that Royal Caribbean opposed the stadium plan because it paid below-market rates on its lease at the port.[10]

Facing political pressure, Beckham's group announced that the PortMiami site had become "Plan B", and Miami-Dade County commissioners voted 11-1 against building the stadium at PortMiami on May 20, 2014.[11]

On February 3, 2015, in a move that was described as symbolic, county commissioners voted unanimously to recommend FIU Stadium as a temporary home for the expansion team. Commissioner Juan C. Zapata, who sponsored the item, said "I think we did [Beckham] a big disservice. I know that when I've met with him, I have apologized, because I think we could have treated him better."[12]

Museum Park (2014)

Under the second proposal, the stadium would have been built in Museum Park, with the boat slip adjacent to AmericanAirlines Arena filled in.

On May 5, 2014, with the PortMiami proposal facing fierce opposition, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Giménez proposed an alternate location on the waterfront, by filling a boat slip between American Airlines Arena and Museum Park. Giménez wrote in a letter to Beckham's real estate adviser that "Downtown Miami would greatly benefit" from a waterfront park that included the stadium and pedestrian walkways. The land, owned by the city of Miami, would have had to be sold or conveyed to the county, and Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado said filling the slip "would be a monumental task."[13] Giménez and Regaldo discussed filling the slip in December 2013, but said the land was not being considered for a soccer stadium.[14]

Following a meeting with Mayors Regalado and Gimenez, Beckham's group announced on May 19, 2014 that the boat slip location had become "Plan A". The site required approval from the commissioners of the city and county, who both owned parts of the land needed for the stadium, and the city charter required a public vote.[15] According to plans presented by Beckham's group on May 22, 2014, the 20,000-seat stadium would take up 4.2 acres of the 19-acre park, while adding 8.5 acres by filling the deep-water basin.[16]

The Miami Marlins had considered the boat slip location for its new stadium, but rejected the plan, as it would have cost millions of dollars to pump out water and transport rocks from elsewhere to fill the slip.[13]

Critics warned the stadium would put a strain on area roads and pipes and others criticized using a public parkland for a stadium,[16] and residents of nearby condominiums expressed concerns that the stadium may obstruct the ocean view.[6]

After the city reported that the two sides were "too far apart" in negotiations over rent,[17] Mayor Regalado and City Manager Daniel Alfonso turned down the proposal on June 10, 2014 and the proposal was rejected.[18]

Little Havana (2014-15)

Rendering of the proposed site next to Marlins Park

MLS president Mark Abbott said in June 2014 that the league was not interested in building in Little Havana next to Marlins Park[19] (although the initial plans included a soccer stadium to be built alongside it, a plan supported by the league in 2008).[20]

In February 2015, Miami-Dade County commissioner Xavier Suárez suggested two previously proposed sites - next to Marlins Park and on the Miami River near Miami International Airport. Suárez told the Miami New Times that he had already discussed the latter location with Beckham's advisor and the developer who owns the land, previously a Bertram Yacht boatyard. Suárez said both locations fit a broad interpretation of the league's insistence on a "downtown" location and the Marlins Park location's "taint" had faded.[21]

On March 4, 2015, Miami-Dade County commissioners passed a resolution calling on Mayor Gimenez to negotiate with Beckham's group over a county-owned parcel of land on the west side of Marlins Park.[22]

On July 17, 2015, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado announced a tentative deal to build the park on city-owned land next to Marlins Park, pending approval from city commissioners.[23] However, in November 2015, Commissioner Francis Suarez said it was taken off the city commission agenda for December 1, 2015, where approval was required to get the stadium on the March 2016 ballot. Suarez cited Beckham's group's inability to secure deals with private landowners.[24]

When the team was announced in March 2014, Miami International Airport, Marlins Park and Florida International University were mentioned as alternative sites should downtown stadium plans fall through.[25]

Cities in neighboring Broward County were asked in July 2014 to forward a list of possible locations for a stadium[26] and the county previously offered a county-owned site next to the BB&T Center in Sunrise as a possible site. Before the team was announced, Palm Beach County Sports Commission contacted Beckham's group and proposed FAU Stadium for the team.[27]

The ownership group released a statement saying that a downtown Miami site was still preferred, but added, "there are other cities that would welcome an MLS club owned by [Beckham] and his partners."[27]

In August 2014, Commissioner Don Garber told Alexi Lalas of ESPN that the league "will not expand to Miami unless we have a downtown site for the stadium."[2]

In May 2015, University of Miami President Donna Shalala met with Beckham and his group to discuss a possible joint stadium for the MLS team and the Miami Hurricanes football team. Shalala said Sun Life Stadium, the existing home stadium with a capacity of over 65,000, was too big for the Hurricanes, but at the same time their target size of around 44,000 seats[28] was too big for MLS.[29]


On December 4, 2015, Beckham's group announced it had secured a contract to purchase a privately owned block[30] in Overtown at 650 NW 8th Street[31] near Culmer station, Interstate 95 and Miami River. It also secured a letter of intent from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez to negotiate the purchase of the block to the south, owned by the county. The Overtown site was the fourth proposed location announced by Beckham since the expansion team was awarded to Miami, but this was the first time the group dropped its attempt to avoid paying property taxes by having the city or county serve as the stadium's landlord.[1] On December 5, the MLS governing board endorsed the location,[32] and on March 24, 2016, it was reported by the Miami Herald that Beckham's group completed the purchase of the privately-owned land portion needed for the soccer stadium.[33] On June 6, 2017, the ownership group acquired the three acres of county land required to begin construction.[34]


  1. ^ a b Hanks, Douglas; Smiley, David (December 4, 2015). "Beckham announces Overtown site for soccer stadium". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Oshan, Jeremiah (July 29, 2014). "MLS won't go to Miami without downtown stadium, commissioner says". SB Nation. Retrieved . 
  3. ^ "David Beckham Unveils MLS Stadium Plans in Port of Miami". BBC. March 25, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  4. ^ Viglucci, Andres; Mazzei, Patricia (March 24, 2014). "David Beckham's Big Project: Design for PortMiami Soccer Stadium Revealed". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2014. 
  5. ^ "Beckham's soccer stadium plan hits obstacle at PortMiami". Miami Herald. April 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Turner, Elliott (February 24, 2015). "How David Beckham's Miami MLS Stadium Deal Turned Into a Disaster". VICE Sports. Retrieved . 
  7. ^ "Beckham's Miami Stadium Plan Hits Stormy Waters". Reuters. May 3, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  8. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (January 30, 2015). "Ad campaign against David Beckham MLS stadium at PortMiami wins award". The Miami Herald. Naked Politics. Retrieved . 
  9. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (April 14, 2014). "Royal Caribbean Leads Alliance Against David Beckham Soccer Stadium at PortMiami". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2014. 
  10. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (April 20, 2014). "Two Sides Trade Jabs in Debate Over Major League Soccer Stadium at PortMiami". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2014. 
  11. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (May 20, 2014). "Miami-Dade Commissioners: PortMiami Off-Limits for David Beckham Soccer Stadium". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2014. 
  12. ^ "FIU Stadium Approved As Temp. Venue For Miami Soccer Club". CBS Miami. February 3, 2015. Retrieved . 
  13. ^ a b Mazze i, Patricia (May 5, 2014). "Miami-Dade Mayor Asks David Beckham's Group to Consider New Soccer Stadium Site". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2014. 
  14. ^ Rabin, Charles (December 1, 2013). "Idea to Fill Downtown Miami Slip Resurfaces". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2014. 
  15. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (May 19, 2014). "Downtown Miami Boat Slip Now Top Choice for David Beckham's MLS Stadium". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Mazzei, Patricia (May 22, 2014). "David Beckham's Latest Miami Stadium Plans Revealed After Earlier Site Scratched". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2014. 
  17. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (June 2, 2014). "Miami says it's 'far apart' in early talks with David Beckham over MLS stadium". The Miami Herald. Retrieved . 
  18. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (June 10, 2014). "David Beckham's MLS Stadium Is a No-Go at Downtown Miami's Museum Park, Boat Slip". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2014. 
  19. ^ "MLS Not Interested In Marlins Park Site For Miami Soccer Stadium". CBS Miami. June 17, 2014. 
  20. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (June 16, 2014). "MLS doesn't like land next to Marlins Park for David Beckham's Miami soccer stadium". The Miami Herald. 
  21. ^ Miller, Michael E. (February 6, 2015). "Could an Old Boatyard Be the Spot for David Beckham's New Soccer Stadium?". Miami New Times. Retrieved . 
  22. ^ "Miami-Dade Commission Offering Beckham Soccer Stadium Site". CBSMiami/Associated Press. March 4, 2015. Retrieved . 
  23. ^ Hanks, Doug (July 17, 2015). "Beckham wants to build soccer stadium next to Marlins Park". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2015. 
  24. ^ DeMause, Neil (November 30, 2015). "Beckham reportedly throws in towel on soccer stadium alongside Marlins Park". Field of Schemes. 
  25. ^ "David Beckham unveils MLS stadium plans in Port of Miami". BBC Sport. BBC. March 25, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  26. ^ Bryan, Susannah; Craig Davis (July 21, 2014). "David Beckham wooed by Broward: Bring soccer stadium here". Sun Sentinel. 
  27. ^ a b Kurtenbach, Dieter (June 16, 2014). "What now for Beckham's MLS bid?". Sun-Sentinel. 
  28. ^ Silverstein, Adam (May 22, 2015). "David Beckham, Miami Hurricanes meeting about soccer-football stadium". Retrieved 2015. 
  29. ^ Jackson, Barry (July 17, 2015). "Friday 2 p.m.: New information on MLS stadium and obstacle with UM; On Dolphins rookie Jordan Phillips; James Ennis' worrisome summer; More radio changes; Marlins". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2015. 
  30. ^ "650 NW 8 ST, Miami, FL 33136-3021 | Commercial Property Information". HawkinsCRE. 2016-07-22. Retrieved . 
  31. ^ "650 NW 8 ST, Miami, FL 33136-3230 | Commercial Property Information". HawkinsCRE. 2016-07-22. Retrieved . 
  32. ^ Bandell, Brian (7 December 2015). "Major League Soccer approves David Beckham's expansion team in Miami, Overtown location - South Florida Business Journal". South Florida Business Journal. 
  33. ^ "David Beckham group buys private land needed for Miami soccer stadium". 
  34. ^ "David Beckham finally gets land deal to build MLS stadium in Miami". ESPN. June 6, 2017. Retrieved . 

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