After Friday’s bombshell that David Beckham has expressed an interest in speaking with Broward County to discuss a potential stadium site for his MLS team instead of Miami, the potential move got us thinking about all of the advantages of having the team based in Broward. Although it’s still very early days, all we see are positives regarding the potential move.
Here are the 5 reasons why David Beckham should select Broward for his MLS team location:
1) No political games
Broward County would welcome a MLS team with open arms. And most importantly for Beckham, he can expect fewer political mind games than what he’s already experienced in Miami-Dade County where mayors and politicians are quick to get a photo op, but slow to enact change unless it benefits them personally.
2) Successful soccer market
Miami-Dade County has never had one successful professional soccer team. Not one. Broward County, meanwhile, has had a proven track record of success with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the 1970s and 1980s.
Then in 2009, with the Miami FC franchise practically on life support with attendances in the hundreds of people for each game, the team owners decided to play some of their games in Broward County. The change had an immediate impact with attendances increasing to more than 1,000 per game on average. Based on the boost the team received from attendances and merchandise sales, the team owners decided to rebrand Miami FC as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 2010. And the team hasn’t looked back since.
3) More land, more choices
If David Beckham wants his MLS dream to become a reality, the chances of it happening in Broward County instead of Miami-Dade County are far greater. One of the main reasons for this is that the Broward County has more land available to build a stadium on, including a large area near the BB&T Center in Sunrise.
4) Easily accessible
If David Beckham’s investors and Broward County are able to secure a deal for a stadium in western Broward County, the location is far more accessible for South Florida than the two downtown Miami options that were being considered by Beckham.
The parcel of land near BB&T Center is easily accessible to residents from all of South Florida including Miami-Dade County (via I-75), Broward County (via Sunrise Boulevard and I-595) and Palm Beach County (via the Sawgrass Expressway).
Instead of building a soccer stadium in downtown Miami that would only be accessible to 2.5 million of the 5.7 million inhabitants of South Florida, a stadium in western Broward would be more accessible to residents in all three South Florida counties.
5) Better parking and facilities
The area near BB&T Center is conveniently located next to Sawgrass Mills, which is a large indoor mall that is a destination spot for locals and tourists alike. That outlet mall draws 23 million visitors annually and is the second-biggest tourist attraction in Florida behind Walt Disney World. The stores, restaurants and plenty of free parking options offers potential soccer fans the opportunity to spend a day in the area combining shopping with going to see a professional soccer game.
Update: Soccer fans in Miami-Dade County are already complaining that the distance is too far for them to drive. Here are some facts to consider:
1. If a MLS stadium is built in downtown Miami, here are the distances that soccer fans would have to drive:
• West Palm Beach: 72 miles,
• Fans near BB&T Center in Sunrise: 36 miles,
• Fort Lauderdale: 29 miles.
That’s an average of 45 miles.
2. If a MLS stadium was built next to BB&T Center in Sunrise here are the distances that soccer fans would have to drive:
• Fans near American Airlines in downtown Miami: 36 miles,
• Fort Lauderdale: 19 miles,
• West Palm Beach: 53 miles.
That’s an average of 36 miles.
A MLS stadium in western Broward is going to attract more real soccer fans from throughout South Florida who don’t mind driving to see top-class soccer. South Florida is not Miami. And Miami is not South Florida.