David Beckham’s recent announcement of plans to launch a new MLS soccer club in downtown Miami is raising hopes, doubts, and questions about the details of his plan. Included in the mix is the mention of a new stadium as a part of the launch. In the press conference on Wednesday, Beckham mentioned that the new stadium would be privately funded, addressing the known issue of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimminez opposing the public funding of private sports venues.
As reported by Nick Madigan with the New York Times, “In an interview after the news briefing, Don Garber (MLS Commissioner) said that in the last month or so he had personally looked at three properties in downtown Miami that might be suitable stadium sites for Beckham’s team. ‘We want that stadium to be downtown,’ Garber said, mentioning in particular a site in Miami’s seaport near the arena where the NBA’s Miami Heat play.”
There is at least one interesting idea for a location floating around in Miami. It has been closed since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but the historic Miami Marine Stadium at one time played host to premier boat racing; floating-stage concerts by Queen, The Beach Boys, Steppenwolf, Ray Charles, and Gloria Estafan; and perhaps most famously the Live at The Bay video recorded during a two-day Jimmy Buffett show in 1985. Jimmy Buffet joins the ranks of many that want to see the stadium restored as an active Miami venue, including the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, and a group of soccer fans that would love to see a soccer pitch floating out where the stage once stood.
Is the Miami Marine Stadium a possibility? Who knows, but having a spectacular venue does seem to be a top priority in this latest effort to prove that MLS soccer can thrive in the Miami market.