- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 12, 2015
- 2 Comments
I mentioned the other day in my Expansion thoughts post that Miami is struggling. Okay, it may be worse than just a simple struggle for David Beckham and his group in South Beach.
More and more I am thinking that this Miami deal was really dead the minute the first stadium option fell through. Heck, some could argue that it was dead well before that. In a way, the Miami announcement last year was truly all about timing. MLS and Beckham had to get something announced before the clause in his contract that stated he could get a MLS expansion team at a discount. A lot of people could see right through that fact that they announced it pretty early without any sort of stadium plan in place.
MLS defensively states in the announcement that it was an agreement with the two sides. It wasn’t an expansion deal and Miami would only get one if a stadium in the city center was built. The whole no stadium, no team comment from league officials continues to be something that gets stated with Miami.
But those who know Miami and the soccer market there have told me repeatedly that there really isn’t a viable location for a soccer stadium within the city’s core. So really, in a way MLS may have been sending Beckham out on a fool’s mission to get something like this accomplished in the first place. Why do you think the city has been so eager to offer up FIU’s football stadium here lately while they continue to work out a plan for a stadium? FIU’s stadium is a good 45 minutes away from downtown (in rush hour). Which if you think about it isn’t that much better than where Miami’s original MLS team was in Fort Lauderdale at Lockhart Stadium.
I keep telling folks that MLS is heavily weighing their options in Sacramento and Minnesota right now. Those are two markets that are ready to go, even though Minnesota doesn’t have a stadium plan in place for the group that the league wants to side with (the NASL/MLB group, not the NFL team’s group). Both markets are ready to pony up the expansion fees and stadiums, and both want a team badly in MLS right now.
Would MLS gamble on losing one of those bids to continue and wait on Miami? No, I really don’t see that happening. My gut tells me within two months we’ll know of at least one expansion spot but by the MLS All-Star Game in Colorado we’ll know of a second one that will take Miami’s place. Folks still need to remember that Miami was never officially #23 on the list of expansion slots. That remains to be key in all of this. Right now, Miami looks like a good #25 or #26 option for the league as I don’t think MLS will just let a Beckham-led bid go to complete waste. But then again, that bid could just very well be dead as we speak.