Has David Beckham struck gold with Overtown site?

"AirportLink December" by Daniel Christensen - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AirportLink_December.jpg#/media/File:AirportLink_December.jpg

“AirportLink December” by Daniel Christensen – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

For almost three years David Beckham and his partners in Miami Beckham United (MBU) pursued fantasy-land like proposals for a venue to build an MLS stadium. MLS and MBU wanted a “sexy” vista something that looked good on TV. What they failed to understand or acknowledge is while lots opulence and wealth certainly dots the South Florida Metropolitan Area, those likely to embrace MLS fall in one of two categories – 1) lower income, working class Hispanics or 2) Younger white middle class millennials.

For category one, the access to public transit is essential while for category two it is less critical, yes still preferred. Category two are often well-read, seasoned youngsters who have a hip and progressive element to them- if they can avoid damaging the environment by driving to games and have the ability to use public transit they will. When Red Bull New York built its stadium in Harrison, NJ one of the hidden gems was that it was right by the PATH Train line. Fans in Toronto regularly use the Go trains, while DC United has been for 20 years a team heavily reliant on those who take the Metro. Miami can and should be similar.

The proposed stadium is just three and a half blocks from the Culmer Station on the Orange & Green Metrorail lines. That’s a  huge difference to the preferred early location along the water and the most recent one near Marlins Park as far as access by public transit. This site is perfectly located for public transit.  If you live in Broward, where the bulk of the region’s long-term fans for professional club soccer in the  come from, this is about the best locale you will get in Miami-Dade County if you want to use public transit.

This site is really as good as it gets, even for connecting to Broward via Tri Rail. Broward passengers can connect to Metrorail’s Green line at the Tri-Rail/Metrorail transfer center and Orange Line at Miami International Airport. Maximum travel time is about an hour and twenty minutes from Fort Lauderdale. Longer than by car no doubt, but no parking hassles and a lot cheaper.

My biggest objection to previous proposed stadium locales was in an already questionable market where local club pro soccer has a more difficult time than any other in the country, having zero public transit would be fatal. Why it took three years to hone in on the most logical site near/in downtown is beyond me, but after flirting with “sexy” MBU has finally settled on practical. That’s a win for everyone, even if they don’t know it just yet.

2 comments

  1. The Observer · · Reply

    Who wants to spend time in Overtown ? It’s going to be get in and out after the matches.

  2. What’s “sexy” for any club is butts in seats. Interesting that current polling shows Tri-Rail, which will take fans from the several millions in population north of downtown directly to the new MiamiCentral Station for Tri-Rail & All Aboard Florida only 5 blocks from the new stadium site, as the top form of transportation by fans, over automobiles and Miami-Dade Transit. And then that fans prefer Tri-Rail & Miami-Dade Transit by a more than 2-to-1 margin over autos to get to matches. Could soccer and its fans be the jumpstart that South Florida’s mass transit needs to make it more popular for the general population? Would be nice.
    Meanwhile, fans and fan organizations are excitedly discussing and figuring out the best route for a carnival atmosphere parade to matches at an Overtown site being embraced proudly by a majority. It’s going to be fun, and MLS MIAMI may surprise quite a few!

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