Barca Miami Expansion Bid Is Far From Perfect

fiu stadium Barca Miami Expansion Bid Is Far From Perfect

Most pundits agree that Miami is odds-on favorites to get a Major League Soccer team in 2010 or 2011. After all, with a name like Barcelona tied to the club, how could MLS refuse?

While the vast majority of articles about the expansion bid have been positive, I wanted to get a few things off my chest so the news is more balanced than what’s been printed in the media thus far.

Let me first say that I was a Miami Fusion season ticket holder, a member of the Afusionados supporters group and covered the Fusion as a member of the media. Plus, I proposed to my wife on the Fusion pitch at Lockhart Stadium during half-time of a MLS match, so you could say I have a deep emotional bond with the now departed Miami Fusion operation.

For the past several months I’ve been following the behind-the-scenes negotations regarding the Fusion, but never thought it would actually come to this whereby Miami is literally one step away from seeing a MLS team return to South Florida once again.

At this point, I’m extremely excited about the prospect of Miami being awarded a MLS team, but here are my reservations:

  1. The field at Florida International University Stadium is field turf, not grass.
  2. The Florida International University Stadium is home to a college football team, not a MLS team — which means that there will be fixture congestion and the Barca Miami team will always have second choice.
  3. The stadium is in western Miami, which is an inconvenient location for many including (1) people who can’t afford to drive on the Florida Turnpike toll road, and (2) those driving from the east and north east such as residents of West Palm Beach, which is 80 minutes away from FIU.

If Barcelona wasn’t involved in this deal, then there would be a lot more naysayers regarding Miami’s chance of seeing a MLS team come to South Florida again.

The ideal location for Barca Miami would be downtown Miami on the site of the former Orange Bowl where the City of Miami was looking for investors to put in $50 million to help build the stadium next door to the future home of the Florida Marlins baseball team. But when Florida International University is offering its stadium rent-free to a MLS team, how could Barcelona and Marcelo Claure not take them up on the offer?

In life, nothing is perfect. Such is the state of the Barca Miami bid, but if it means the opportunity of professional soccer returning to South Florida, then I’m all in favor of it and will support the team. The question is whether the rest of the soccer fans in the area will do the same.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →

13 Responses to Barca Miami Expansion Bid Is Far From Perfect

  1. Pingback: Barca Miami Expansion Bid Is Far From Perfect

  2. Luis Rodriguez says:

    Well yea it is rent free.. but eventually they would have to build a stadium for the team, how do you think they are going to just play at the FIU stadium for the rest of its existence? They have to make a stadium eventually, and with deep pockets of barcelona i don't doubt SSS in the near future, especially with the possibility of another stadium site Miami Arena downtown which has major transportation across the street ( Metro-Rail)

  3. J R says:

    Take the Palmetto expressway and get off on SW 8 St. You don't have to take the Turnpike.
    The turf field we will see maybe Barca/Brightstar will request FIU to lay down grass. I am sure we will have new soccer stadium in three years. PLEASE No MORE COMPLAINS WE ARE GETTING MLS PROBABLY IN 2010 JUST GO AND SUPPORT IT.

  4. Wendell_Gee says:

    The stadium may be rent free, but sometimes things cost nothing simply because that's what they are really worth.

  5. Joey Clams says:

    They'll sort all that out.

  6. Jason says:

    Florida University? You live in South Florida and don't know the name of the university?

    And as for fixture congestion, how many home games do you think FIU plays?

    In 2005, they played five home games, and three of those were after November 19.
    In 2006, they played six home games, four of them after November 11.
    In 2007, five home games – three after November 17.

    Do you see where I'm going with this?

  7. The Gaffer says:

    Sorry Jason, I fixed that typo. I knew it was Florida International University, not Florida University. My apologies. Good points about the games not being that affected by the schedule, but it still means that Barca Miami would play second fiddle to FIU.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  8. kkfla737 says:

    Now that FIU is in the Sun Belt they will play at minimum five home games, likely more a season. Couple that with the fact that in College Football due to the vast amounts of TV money and number of networks that carry live games (ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U, ESPN CL, CBC CS, CBS, ABC, BTN, VS, etc, etc) game times are only set 13 days before the game actually takes place. For example Miami's November 1st game at Virginia was just set for Noon ET because it will be syndicated on Raycom. The game a few weeks back against FSU was played at 3:30 and shown nationally on ABC even though the “official schedule” before the season did not list 3:30 as the start time.

    So sharing a stadium with a college football team whose games are also played on saturday and whose game times change is a risky proposition. Add turf to the mix, something that in football more than any other sport affects the play and you have a situation where they need to build a stadium in downtown, or dare I say it, even play at Lockhart.

  9. BishopvilleRed says:

    You also have to realise that the team will use the stadium for “run thru” practises, thereby doubling their stadium use at least. That would likely be the Thursday / Friday nights before games. And football will get bumped because of FIU football.

  10. Apologies if this has been discussed elsewhere but what would a link with Barca entail? Are they likely to send fringe/youth players to MLS to get games or is it mainly a commercial deal and an attempt to infiltrate the US market with merchandising sales?

  11. Jim says:

    Nothing in this world is perfect.

  12. Barca90067 says:

    Barca is coming to Miami!!!!! Not sure if you've heard, but FC Barcelona is in the process of bidding to become one of the newest MLS expansion teams. With our assistance, we can help bring the Barca flare to the United States.

    I encourage everyone to visit their website at http://www.miamifcb.com. Let' convince the MLS to grant FC Barcelona and the city of Miami an MLS franchise. Please go to the website, sign up as a fan of Barcelona, and express your interest in season tickets in the event a franchise is granted. Also, the site allows us to give our input regarding potential names for the team and any other suggestions we may have.

    Everyone, please check out the site (http://www.miamifcb.com) and let's bring Barcelona to the US!

  13. Im going to play there you’ll see

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