Sports / Soccer

Beckham buys land for Miami stadium

By Agence France-Presse in Miami (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-26 08:10

Former England soccer great David Beckham has taken a key step toward his goal of launching a Major League Soccer franchise by buying land for a stadium in Miami, one of his partners said Thursday.

Beckham's group of investors acquired land in the Overtown neighborhood northwest of downtown in the Florida city.

"Big News: We've closed on our #Miami stadium site. Excited to bring a world-class @MLS club to our fans," tweeted Beckham's partner Marcelo Claure, CEO of Sprint telecom company.

Beckham, 40, has pursued the project for a 20,000-seat stadium since late 2013.

Beckham buys land for Miami stadium

Several attempts to buy land at other sites failed in the face of opposition from residents and local authorities concerned about increased traffic in a city already afflicted by heavy congestion.

The Miami Beckham United group must now buy additional public land for parking and convince the city to permit construction, which will require overhauling zoning regulations, the Miami Herald reported.

"We have the right site, the right ownership group and a loyal base of fans counting down the days until our first match," the group said in a statement.

"We're all-in on Overtown, and we couldn't be more excited about moving forward with plans to deliver the most responsible stadium in Miami history."

Addressing concerns the stadium may not provide enough parking in the car-addicted city, the group said the site lies within walking distance of public transportation and downtown.

Beckham's team is set to stage its MLS debut in 2018.

The former England captain's contract to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 gave him the option to create a new MLS team for the reduced price of $25 million.

His professional move to the United States was seen as a boon to a sport that remains overshadowed by American football, baseball and other homegrown sports.

The next step for Beckham and his partners is to buy another three-acre parcel from Miami-Dade County and secure zoning changes from the city of Miami. Details of the deal weren't disclosed. The projected has previously been projected to cost more than $200 million.

(China Daily 03/26/2016 page11)

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