David Beckham hits the wall in his fight for a football stadium in Miami's port area

An alliance of locals supports the former England captain's MLS franchise, but believes there are better sites for the proposed 25,000-seat venue


When David Beckham arrived in Miami last month declaring his determination to be an “enemy” of no one with his bold plan to build a sexy, state-of-the-art soccer stadium slap in the heart of its port area he surely already knew he was being naïve. Lo and behold the forces against him are mustering.

Trouble for the star of turf and the runway materialised this week with a full-page advertisement in the local newspapers arguing that far more important to the city would be preserving the site for the expansion of the port as it prepares to take advantage of the soon-to-be-completed expansion of the Panama Canal.

The advertisement, which appeared on Monday in the Miami Herald under the headline ‘Here We Go Again’, was placed by a newly formed alliance of port-based interests led by Royal Caribbean, the cruise line that is headquartered at the port, as well as unions and companies involved in servicing the passenger and cargo ships that crowd its wharfs as well as a local billionaire car-dealer, Norman Braman.

Unveiled in March, the blueprint for Mr Beckham’s dream involves a sleek 25,000-seat stadium that would be home to the new Major Soccer League franchise for Miami that he will own. There would also be shopping, office space, a hotel and an outdoor plaza for film screenings and World Cup viewing parties.

While there are three other possible sites for the facility, the port is where Mr Beckham would like to be. The stadium would face the high-octane skyline of downtown Miami and sit against a backdrop of cruise ships and the sparkling harbour. “At the moment it’s a view that can only be seen by people with yachts, or cargo ships or by fish,” his property development advisor, John Alschuler, said at the time.

“We don’t want to be an enemy to the people who are opposing the stadium,” Mr Beckham said while he was in town last month. “I want to work with them to change their mindset about the fact that we are here to help the community and help Miami”.

It was a charm offensive, however, that may not have worked. “The Alliance wholeheartedly supports a soccer franchise in Miami and believes there are other sites that would benefit greatly from a stadium,” Monday’s advert said. “However, PortMiami is not one of them, due to the risks a port stadium would pose to jobs, cruise and cargo operations, security, and the port’s promising future.”

Taking the lead in the anti-stadium consortium is John Fox, a former Royal Caribbean vice president. “What the alliance thinks is that port property should be used for port purposes,” he explained. Among the concerns are the traffic the stadium would generate and the parking needed for 5,000 cars. “There are plenty of other places for the stadium to be,” Mr Braman said in an interview with the Herald.

When first proposed, the franchise plan was embraced by local leaders including Mayor Carlos Gimenez, not least because Mr Beckham promises to build the stadium with private, not public funds (though he would ask for state subsidies up to $40 million over 20 years). But any final agreement will need the support of City Commissioner’s, some of whom are already signalling reservations about the port location.

The Beckham forces are striking back, arguing that games at the stadium would be scheduled to avoid clashing with cruise ship arrivals and departures. “The plan doesn’t interfere with port operations,” Neisen Kasdin, another adviser to the Beckham group insisted. “It will likely generate more revenue for the port in the shorter term than other concepts that have been discussed.”

“People are responding to speculation,” Mr Alschuler said in response to the newspaper spot. “I’ve got confidence that commissioners, when presented with a formal recommendation by the mayor - and a full, factual briefing - will respond to the facts.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower