Last week we wrote about what the announcement of El Clasico Miami meant for local soccer in southeast Florida. This week as the Sportel America Conference descended on Downtown Miami, buzz about the July matchup between Real Madrid and Barcelona to be held at Joe Robbie Stadium was intense among the largely European-based media and vendors that were at the Convention. Why exactly is this match up coming to Miami?
World Soccer Talk, where I serve as the Senior Writer might give us some insight – the site has received a remarkable amount of comments from people across the country interested in traveling to Miami this summer for the game. The cheapest tickets for the match are steep $180 which is only slightly less than perhaps the cheapest season tickets would be if Miami or Fort Lauderdale had an MLS team – and that is for a single game. In fact, those single game tickets are more expensive than many packages the Fort Lauderdale Strikers or Miami FC have offered at the D2 level.
For many in the area who have limited disposable income, Stephen Ross’ gambit of renovating Joe Robbie Stadium and attracting once in a lifetime type international soccer matches is more appealing than supporting a local club side in a domestic pro league. This is the unfortunate reality of southeast Florida for NASL, USL and MLS. Southeast Florida isn’t Seattle, Portland or Orlando. It isn’t even Kansas City, Salt Lake City, Sacramento or Tampa/St Pete. This is just something that those around the game in the region have to accept. The appetite for local domestic pro club soccer isn’t very deep despite being handed more opportunities to thrive than just about any other market in the county.