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Ad Campaign Bent On Blocking Beckham’s MLS Stadium

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Miami Heat

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — As soccer superstar David Beckham and his investors are still eyeing PortMiami for a possible soccer stadium,  another group launched an ad campaign opposing it.

A group called Miami Seaport Alliance launched a television, radio, and digital advertising campaign across Miami-Dade County on Friday.

The alliance consists of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Norman Braman, Florida Foreign Trade Association and the Latin American Business Association among other groups.

According to the group, the campaign is meant to present key facts about the proposed stadium at PortMiami.

The President of the alliance,  John Fox, released a statement saying the soccer stadium could pose a risk to the cargo and cruise activity in the area.

“The port’s maritime cargo and cruise activity supports 207,000 jobs in South Florida and generates over $27 billion dollars in economic activity,” said Fox. “Even the hint of a disruptive non-port-related activity, such as a stadium, could force a cargo or cruise ship to leave the port, which would result in the loss of thousands of jobs. We’re proud to launch this campaign to get the facts to the people of Miami-Dade County.”

Miami Beckham United argues it has more to do with Royal Caribbean, releasing a statement Friday saying, “Taking out thousands of dollars’ worth of advertising does not create an alliance.  This so-called alliance is really just Royal Caribbean desiring to preserve their view and their parking lot.  This deprives the Port of revenue it so badly needs.  A careful, objective review of the facts demonstrates that the stadium will enhance, not harm, the Port.”

Earlier this month, Miami Seaport Alliance set up a website, and  ran an open letter to the community in a full-page Miami Herald ad titled “Here We Go Again” where they listed a litany of reasons why soccer and PortMiami just won’t mix.

“Two hundred seven thousand jobs, $27 billion in economic input here,” said Fox, 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 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.”

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