Now the world’s sexiest man is pursuing a soccer stadium in Miami. People magazine this week named David Beckham the “Sexiest Man Alive,” handing the 40-year-old retired soccer star top billing in its annual scoring of male attractiveness. The splashy cover comes as Beckham and his partners are in the final stages of landing a stadium deal with Miami and the Miami-Dade school system to house a Major League Soccer franchise he has the option to purchase. In an online story, People called the father of four “a humble British heartthrob” who “isn’t sure he’s even deserving of the mantle.” Beckham told the magazine: “I never feel that I’m an attractive, sexy person.”
Beckham’s star power has been a central element in his extended pursuit of a Miami stadium. Embraced in early 2014 by a stream of politicians eager to pose with him, Beckham still failed to land stadium deals on Port Miami and downtown Miami. When his negotiators relaunched the chase for a site next to Marlins Park during the summer of 2015, Beckham played a decidedly lower-key role. He held virtually no public appearances tied to the stadium, and last week conducted a private meeting with schools chief Alberto Carvalho that (unlike prior Beckham visits) did not leak ahead of time to the media.
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The latest proposed deal would have the Beckham organization pay for the stadium site and construction of a $200 million, 30,000-seat facility on a collection of city and private land next to Marlins Park. To shield the new facility from property taxes, Beckham would turn over ownership to the school system, which would serve as landlord and have access to the stadium for graduations, large football games and other activities. The Beckham group would also sponsor some school activities as part of its compensation to the school board.