Beckham Makes Pitch For Soccer At Florida Capitol

By: CBS Miami News Copy; Associated Press News Email
By: CBS Miami News Copy; Associated Press News Email

News Release: Associated Press News
Updated: March 25, 2014, 5pm


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Soccer star David Beckham is making a pitch for his Miami soccer franchise to top Florida politicians.

Beckham on Tuesday made a whirlwind visit to the state Capitol where he met with Gov. Rick Scott, as well as top legislative leaders.

He said that "no promises" were made by anyone to him.

Instead, Beckham said that leaders have told him they support his plan to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to Miami.

He added that he just wants a chance to tap into state funding like other professional teams have done. The Florida Legislature is advancing a bill this year that would create a process to rank future professional sports subsidies.

Beckham, who had a lengthy pro career, said this was the first time he had ever visited Tallahassee.

CBS Miami News Copy

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – International soccer star David Beckham’s investment group has unveiled concept designs for an open-air stadium at PortMiami that would include views of the downtown skyline and bayfront.

The stadium, designed by Miami’s Aquitectonica and 360 Architecture of Kansas City, is supposed to inspire a “wow” factor to help build support for a stadium at PortMiami, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

“It will create an unparalleled experience in soccer in the United States, perhaps an unparalleled experience anywhere in the world,” said John Alschuler, Beckham’s real-estate advisor, at a news conference on Monday.

Beckham will head to Tallahassee Tuesday to lobby the Florida Legislature for tax breaks and other issues that will impact the amount of money needed to build the stadium, but before his capitol visit, Beckham made a stop in Miami.

“We want to be treated the same as every other franchise and if that means obviously asking for the funding that other franchises get then that’s what we’d like to happen,” Beckham said Monday. “I like challenges,” Beckham added. “We will be building the stadium ourselves.”

The stadium’s blueprint would have the stadium looking back towards downtown and reportedly envisions a plaza to downtown Miami which would create a park for pedestrians.

“Our stadium, our site, is all about the skyline. It’s all about the water. It opens up to that, that’s what we want people to see, people to see all around the world,” Beckham said.

In addition, the plaza would be surrounded by restaurants and shopping areas and would also feature outdoor film screenings, concerts, and World Cup broadcasts. There would also be a nightclub open year-round to the public in the plaza.

In the design of the stadium, several large buildings are visible over the stadium, but the sketches are conceptual and don’t represent actual buildings, according to the Herald.

“The port of Miami is the right place because it will create a great stadium, it will energize downtown, it will create jobs and economic value,” said Alschuler.

Not everyone is as enthusiastic about the PortMiami site, however. Other developers want the land and Royal Caribbean is worried about the impact on its ships. Traffic seems to be another concern.

“I want to change their minds and change their minds that we are here to help the community and help Miami,” said Beckham.

One of the complexities of the park on the bay is where to put more than 5,000 cars. Alschuler said that MLS games would not overlap with cruise ship arrivals or boardings and the team would not schedule games on the same night as a Miami Heat game.

Neisen Kasdin, the Beckham Group’s attorney, reiterated its namesakes claim that the stadium, which is estimated to cost more than $200 million, would be built on the developer’s dime.

“We are not seeking funds from the county or the city for the development of this stadium,” said Kasdin.

If the PortMiami site is spiked, two other possibilities include land near Marlins Park, land near Miami International Airport, and one near FIU at Tamiami Park.

One area that could help the park’s construction is the possible involvement of the University of Miami. The Hurricanes moved to Sun Life Stadium when the Orange Bowl was torn down, but if the soccer stadium was large enough (larger than 40,000 seats); it might give enough of an appeal to UM to try to get out of the Sun Life deal.

As far as the name for the new MLS team is concerned, Beckham said Monday that he has several ideas, but doesn’t plan to make those names public for another month or two.

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