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Royal Caribbean Leads Alliance Against PortMiami Soccer Stadium Plan

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A rendering of the interior bowl of the proposed soccer stadium at PortMiami. (Source: Arquitectonica, 360 Architecture and Visual House)

A rendering of the interior bowl of the proposed soccer stadium at PortMiami. (Source: Arquitectonica, 360 Architecture and Visual House)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Royal Caribbean Cruises is leading the charge against building a Major League Soccer stadium at PortMiami.

The cruise company and its allies have formed a group called the “Miami Seaport Alliance” to oppose David Beckham group’s proposal for a new 25,000 open-air stadium on the port’s southwest corner, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

On Monday, they took out a full page ad in the paper titled “Here We Go Again” which states while they support a Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, they believe other sites for the stadium should be considered because of “risks a port stadium would pose to jobs, cruise and cargo operations, security, and the port’s promising future.”

John Fox, former vice president for governmental relations for Royal Caribbean, is heading the anti-stadium alliance. Royal Caribbean’s campus overlaps part of the proposed 12-acre stadium site.

Other alliance members include two stevedoring companies that load and unload cargo from ships and two local unions representing longshoremen, according to The Miami Herald.

Beckham has said PortMiami is his top choice but there are other locations being considered including one next to the Miami Marlins’ Little Havana ballpark.

The Beckham group’s real estate advisor, John Alschuler, told The Miami Herald that when presented with formal recommendation by the mayor and full briefing, the commission will respond to the facts.

Last month Beckham’s investment group unveiled concept designs for an open-air stadium at the port that would include views of the downtown skyline and bayfront. The stadium’s blueprint would have the stadium looking back towards downtown and reportedly envisions a plaza to downtown Miami which would create a park for pedestrians.

In addition, the plaza would be surrounded by restaurants and shopping areas and would also feature outdoor film screenings, concerts, and World Cup broadcasts. There would also be a nightclub open year-round to the public in the plaza.

“The port of Miami is the right place because it will create a great stadium, it will energize downtown, it will create jobs and economic value,” said Alschuler.

One of the complexities of the park on the bay is where to put more than 5,000 cars.  Alschuler said that MLS games would not overlap with cruise ship arrivals or boardings and the team would not schedule games on the same night as a Miami Heat game.

Beckham has said that the new stadium would be built with private funding though the group is seeking a state subsidy that could amount to $40 million over 20 years.

The new MLS team in Miami is expected to begin play in the 2017 season, but possibly could start a year earlier in 2016.

The Miami team is the second Florida team welcomed by the MLS. Orlando was awarded a team late last year, which gives the league 22 teams.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.

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