Miami is America’s No. 1 TV market for World Cup viewing. It’s a hotbed of soccer talent and a gateway to Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Surprisingly, we’re also the largest U.S. city without a Major League Soccer team. That’s about to change.
When my partners and I announced plans to bring an MLS franchise to Miami, we enjoyed a wave of enthusiasm. Finalizing our plans has taken longer than expected.
The Miami-Dade County Commission vote allowing us to purchase the last piece of land we need to build a world-class stadium in Overtown was a major step forward. It’s now up to MLS owners to grant Miami a franchise, at which point we will seek approval from the city of Miami.
This will be the most financially responsible, publicly vetted stadium Miami has ever seen — and a model for how venues should be developed. Construction will be privately financed with zero risk to taxpayers; our partners have paid fair market value for the land; and we will pay our share of property taxes.
Our stadium also will be responsibly designed. Building parking garages that sit empty for more than 300 days a year would be inefficient and unfair to our neighbors, so we will encourage fans to ditch their cars in favor of Metrorail, Brightline, and ferries along the Miami River.
We will be a good community partner by supporting nonprofits, launching a job-training initiative, and creating more than 50 permanent jobs that earn a living wage.
We also will build a privately-financed training center and academy focused on developing local athletes.
Growing up in Bolivia, I’ve seen how soccer unites diverse communities, improves the lives of children, and sparks economic growth in overlooked neighborhoods. An MLS club can have the same effect on Miami.
Marcelo Claure, CEO, Sprint, and a principal of Miami Beckham United