Stadium Glut: Beckham Plans 75,000-Seat Soccer Palace in Miami
A few years after investing into his business partner's eating establishment at the peak of his baseball career, St Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial was asked what it took to make $1million in the restaurant business.
"Simple," Stan the Man replied. "Start with $2million."
Perhaps someone should pass that quip along to David Beckham.
The soccer mega-star, whose über-earnings have never truly required him to deal with the reality of everyday business, has apparently turned his rose-colored world view to the South Florida sporting scene.
Part of Beckham's deal with MLS and the Los Angeles Galaxy was -- in return for his playing in the league -- he would receive an option to purchase an MLS expansion franchise for the 'sweetheart price' of $25million. He's already settled on Miami as the site, with the approval of MLS brass. Timing is now the issue. His option expires at the quickly-approaching end of the year.
Obivously, Beckham's to-do list includes a place to play. One would think SunLife Stadium would be a natural choice. It works for the Dolphins and Hurricanes, and another major tenant there could ease a pending financial issue with the facility's upkeep. Another supportive fan segment would be useful if another run at tax dollars is going to be made. The region is loaded with Latins, and everyone knows Latins love soccer.
Then again, Latins love baseball. Ask either one of Jeff Loria's two faces how that's working out for the Marlins. That would be the same Jeff Loria who surely poisoned the tax-pool waters for sports-related construction projects with his bait-and-switch tactics. (Ironically, his star-dump trade with Toronto was actually stat-neutral, but the point was it was a star dump.)
Undaunted, Beckham is attempting to assemble his own dream team. That noted minority owner of Liverpool FC, LeBron James, is said to be interested. A bigger financial fish, Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure, is the sort of dude Beckham needs to land. To do so, perhaps he feels the need to deam big.
And big that dream is. Beckham is making no secret of his desire to build a brand new 75,000 seat stadium to host the throngs of soccer fans in the greater Miami area panting for the MLS.
There might be a few practical holes in this plan, like a local public weary of being taxed for professional sporting playpens. Or like a season's worth of most MLS teams' attendance figures being able to fit into Beckham's proposed stadium all at once.
Perhaps the shrewd Bolivian billionaire has put more thought into it and found Beckham's dream to be feasible. Perhaps there's a plan to lure the Dolphins and Hurricanes as tenants.
And perhaps Beckham was simply inspired by Bluto Blutarski's stirring pep talk to his just-shut-down fraternity brothers in Animal House:
It's a lot to roll before the end of the year. And it apparently doesn't have to make sense if the excitement is there.