David Beckham and his investment group have three months to close on a stadium site in Miami/South Florida before MLS will grant the area a new franchise. Last week Team Beckham announced that a deal had been struck to build a soccer-specific stadium on the former Orange Bowl site adjacent to Marlins Park.
It was thought that the agreement with Miami-Dade commissioners would smooth the path toward securing a stadium site and approval, but as Michael Lewis writes in Miami Today (hat tip to Robert Andrew Powell) , the deal could be compromised by the original deal between the city/county and the Marlins seven years ago. You really ought to read the entire thing, but here are some highlights:
- No soccer stadium built next to the site can sell its naming rights before the baseball stadium sells there. (The public outcry over the Marlins stadium deal has made naming rights very difficult to sell.)
- No sponsorship conflicts in any way between the two stadiums (naming, concessions, exterior sponsors, etc), and the Marlins have first right of refusal.
- The soccer team can't set its schedule until the Marlins set theirs, which the Marlins can then change at any time.
- No soccer events until four hours after a baseball event, and no events at the soccer stadium can interfere with any event at the baseball stadium.
As I said, you should read the entire article, but the agreement made with the Marlins makes for a revealing document. The Marlins Park deal has been a radioactive issue in South Florida politics -- I would like to think that the people advising Beckham are aware of this, but maybe not. But the question remains, how badly do Team Beckham want a stadium in Miami, and a MLS franchise? We'll know all in a few months' time.