MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Amid all promise for Major League Soccer in Miami, in a stadium at PortMiami overlooking the bay and city, what was the once quiet opposition to the stadium plan has now gone very public.
A group called the Miami Seaport Alliance, led by Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, has launched a campaign against soccer on the bay.
The group has set up a website, ran an open letter to the community in a full page Miami Herald ad titled “Here We Go Again” where they list a litany of reasons why soccer and PortMiami just won’t mix.
“Two hundred seven thousand jobs, $27 billion in economic input here,” said John Fox of the Miami Seaport Alliance, adding, “If somebody can explain to this alliance what having a soccer stadium will do to better that—we’re happy to listen to them.”
Not just Royal Caribbean is opposing soccer at the port, a group of “PortMiami Stakeholders” including the Longshoremen unions, stevedore companies and cargo outfits are bent on blocking David Beckham from bending it on the bay.
Stadium backers argue cruise ships sail in the afternoon, long before nighttime soccer games.
Beckham’s organization says it doesn’t want a fight but will gently persuade opponents that cargo and cruise ships and soccer can get along.
“We are fully committed to the Port Of Miami, which is the only site in your downtown that helps move this community forward into the 21st century,” said John Alschulmer of Miami Beckham United.
But those opposed disagree.
“This port, for years, has been positioning itself to be the preeminent port in the nation,” said Fox. Now what the soccer stadium has to do to further those business interests and those jobs and that economic input? It’s a very difficult explanation for me to understand.”
Beckham’s group is not backing down, and has no plan b at the moment for an alternate stadium site.
“We are convinced that we are an asset to the Port of Miami, and we look forward to communicating that message to everybody.”