Beckham Wins Land For Soccer Stadium

Soccer superstar David Beckham and sports/entertainment entrepreneur Tim Leiweke teamed up once again June 6, as Miami-Dade County commissioners voted 9-4 to approve the sale of three acres of land for $9 million that completes acquisition of property intended for a soccer stadium in Miami, Fla.

Miami Soccer Stadium
Miami Beckham United/Populous
– Miami Soccer Stadium

Leiweke reportedly negotiated the deal for the Beckham group that also includes “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller, Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. Miami must still grant zoning approval for construction to begin and that’s not expected to come before commissioners until 2018.

The 25,000-seat stadium is estimated to cost $175 million to develop, plus another $25 million for a training facility, and would generate some 50 full-time jobs. It would be privately funded and owned, and represent a first for Miami – with no public claims or subsidies, the venue would generate sales taxes, unlike subsidized Marlins Park.

But because the proposal lacks a parking facility, it’s feared that parking and close proximity to a neighborhood described by the Herald as “one of Miami’s poorest” will impact nearby residents. The plan reportedly proposes a mix of shuttles and other traffic mitigation measures to offset the lack of dedicated parking.

Four years in the making, the land acquisition marks forward momentum as Beckham tries to now land a Major League Soccer expansion team to anchor the building. When MLS and Leiweke recruited Beckham to join the L.A. Galaxy, part of the deal included an option for Beckham to buy in to the league with a $25 million franchise fee – a deep discount from the usual $150 million for new owners.

It’s expected that other high-profile, local investors in the group will be unveiled before commissioners address the zoning issue.

“Miami is ready,” Leiweke said. “We are committed. And the city and the county have now taken the necessary steps for us to control our own destiny for a privately financed, world-class soccer stadium for Major League Soccer.”