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David Beckham touring Miami, and other news in Major League Soccer’s “Southeast Conference”

Nov 12, 2013, 9:42 PM EDT

There is no shortage of Major League Soccer news out of the American southeast – which is a little weird when you consider that Major League Soccer has been little more than a rumor in American southeast for well over a decade.

The Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman, a veteran soccer writer who once uttered the most brilliant, impromptu line I have personally heard about journalism in the sport, reported via Twitter this evening that David Beckham is in town scouting potential stadium sites.

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Last week, Kaufman wrote a big, sweeping piece on the Beckham-Miami-MLS expansion project, asking essentially if this puppy dog has a chance of barking?  If Beckham, Simon Fuller, et all cannot sprinkle the magic dust around Miami, who can? Still, it’s no slam dunk, as Kaufman writes:

Is Beckham’s star power enough to turn the fickle South Florida sports market into a passionate MLS audience? Will Miami’s sophisticated soccer-savvy fans, who lead the nation in TV ratings for World Cups and European league matches, ever care as much about Real Salt Lake as they do Real Madrid? FC Barcelona drew 71,000 at Sun Life Stadium for an exhibition match against Chivas Guadalajara last summer. But will those same fans (some might call them soccer snobs) show up to watch a Miami MLS team play FC Dallas?

Related, here is a swell piece out of Miami on five potential sites.

Of course, there’s more to MLS expansion life than Beckham – even if there aren’t $50,000-a-month PR firms out there leaking news about it.

All this sports-stadium smoke moving over Atlanta was bound to waft over into soccer valley. Sure enough, a few smarties wondered whether Turner Field, about to fall-down-go-boom as a baseball ground, might be the perfect solution for a city flirting with MLS expansion?

Background: The former, small-beer talk of MLS in Atlanta mushroomed recently when Arthur Blank, owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, got into serious conversations with MLS commissioner Don Garber about a new football stadium that would double as a home for pro soccer.

source:  The Seattle Sounders’ terrific arrangement and cooperation with the NFL’s Seahawks is the model here, although I continue to call that one the outlier. Which means I continue to be nervous about a joint arrangement in Atlanta, which could turn into another Giants Stadium situation, Gillette Stadium situation, Arrowhead Stadium situation, etc. If you don’t know your MLS history, suffice to say, those were/are pretty awful situations for MLS. But that’s another conversation.

Anyway, Atlanta’s MLS interest is all about Blanks’ new stadium, not about a soccer team becoming the primary tenant at suddenly lonely Turner Field, which was always an odd duck of a facility anyway, a retrofit for baseball after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Anyway, even if you think that’s what should happen in Atlanta, its’ not an option now, apparently. They are committed to tearing the thing down.

Oh, we cannot have a post on MLS expansion in the American Southeast without mentioning Orlando. So … we just did.

Nothing new to report on that one today.

  1. hildezero - Nov 12, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    “(some might call them soccer snobs)”

    I have never heard that before, but I have heard of “Euro-snobs”. I think she means that instead. There’s a lot of those in FL.

  2. danielofthedale - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Well the Ted was not really retrofitted for baseball. Yes it was build as the Olympic Stadium but from the get go is build to be a baseball stadium that could be closed in for two weeks and then quickly turned back to a baseball stadium.

    But the idea of converting The Ted into a soccer stadium is just not realistic. The amount of money it would cost you might as well just start from ground zero on it. And since there seems to be no other group/individual looking to bring an MLS team Atlanta out side of Blank even if could be easily and cheaply converted no one would. Why would Blank spend another couple hundred million onto what he is already spending on the Falcons Stadium that can also house his team. Now I think once the team got established and was drawing well I think he would eventually build a smaller stadium for the MLS team to share most likely with GSU football much like the Houston Dynamos situation
    .

    • joeyt360 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      Yeah, one end looked suspiciously shaped to house home plate from the very beginning.

  3. footballer4ever - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    Beckham or no Beckham, Miami MLS club or not…i am sure Beckham will be delighted to see when Sunlife stadium wikl be packed for the football Pre-World Cup preparation matches between Honduras against Brazil. I will be there for sure! :)

  4. 407magic - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    Orlando mls announcement was leaked in the Orlando sentinel to happen November 19th in downtown Orlando. Rumor? Maybe? Maybe not but I didn’t see a post on here about it. But you post beckham looking at sites lol who cares

    • talgrath - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      This post was written before that kinda-sorta announcement. The post about that was just put up, check the timestamps and keep in mind blog-writing delay.

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