There are Miamians now close to graduating from high school who were freshmen when David Beckham announced he planned to bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami. When Beckham took the stage at Pérez Art Museum, Pharrell's insidious earworm "Happy" had recently topped the charts and The Lego Movie was tearing up the box office. It was a long-ass time ago.
But today, local soccer fans' never-ending wait is finally over! Right? Or is it?
This much is 100 percent crystal clear: Becks is back in Miami and posting some very sexy beach selfies. And he'll join top brass from MLS and local politicos onstage this afternoon to announce... something. Here's what we know for sure about today's big event:
When and where will this thing happen?
Beckham's big presser will be held at noon today inside the Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center.
Who will be there?
Becks, of course, will bring his star power to the stage, along with his latest set of investors: local building tycoons Jorge and Jose Mas, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, and American Idol creator Simon Fuller. MLS Commissioner Don Garber will be back for this one, as well as almost every local politician who can worm their way onstage.
So what exactly will they announce today?
The big news is probably that MLS will "officially award" a franchise to Beckham's group, meaning Miami and an expansion team in Nashville will both join the league in 2020.
Cool, so this whole thing is finally a done deal!
Uh, not exactly. Yes, Beckham and his crew have bought the land necessary to build a self-financed, 25,000-seat, $225 million stadium in Overtown. And they've now apparently gotten the official sign-off from MLS to make it happen.
But the actual stadium is still far from a done deal. Though Beckham received provisional approval from the county to buy a $9 million plot of taxpayer-owned land needed for the site, his group still has to go to the city government for its approval on the project. And there will be some very Miami political infighting to come, especially over the county's insistence that only Miami-Dade Police officers work security at the stadium. City cops won't let all of that potential overtime slip away without an epic fight.
Oh, yeah, there's also an ongoing legal battle with wealthy heir Bruce Matheson, the guy who pretty much singlehandedly tanked plans to expand the tennis stadium on Key Biscayne. He's arguing the county broke the law by selling land to Beckham below fair market price without a public bidding process. His first suit was tossed, but he's working on an appeal.
"There should have been an open bid and an up-to-date appraisal on the land," Matheson told New Times this past Friday. "This is not over."
OK, but legal infighting aside, the team is ready to move forward in Overtown, right?
Well, maybe. The Miami Herald reported Friday that new investors Jorge and Jose Mas have been showing up to meetings and grilling people about why they have to stick with the Overtown site. They seem to be more into the failed plan to locate the stadium in Little Havana next to Marlins Park, where there's a bit more built-in parking.
"They wanted to know what happened, and what happened with different sites," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez told the Herald. "What were the ups and downs. What we thought were the positives of that [Overtown] site."
Will they announce the team name or reveal jerseys today?
Probably not. “I don’t think it will be a name reveal. I don’t think it will be a site reveal,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told CBS 4.
Jeez, so this big event seems like much ado about nothing.
Getting official MLS approval for the franchise isn't nothing, if that's what's announced today. But, yeah, this team is still a long way from suiting up. Take it from Mayor Suarez, talking to CBS 4 about the Overtown site: "The team has yet to complete the purchase of that particular site, and we’ve yet to see a plan for development, so it’s really hard for me to comment on something that is still in such early stages.”
Can I go to the news conference?
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MLS made limited tickets available to the public and local supporters, but they sold out quickly.
OK, so I can I watch the conference online?
You're in luck! New Times will live-stream Becks' big day on facebook.com/miaminewtimes.
Will Pitbull be there?
Jeff Bezos owns Pitbull now. So, no.