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Beckham exploring possibility of joint MLS/UM stadium; Shula takes stand; Fins, Heat, Marlins chatter

SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN

David Beckham’s group is exploring the feasibility of building a soccer stadium that would be large enough to accommodate the University of Miami football team, and UM would have interest if the stadium meets the school’s requirements and if the Hurricanes can somehow escape their long Sun Life Stadium lease, according to sources on both sides.

Beckham’s group and UM have had preliminary discussions, but the Beckham camp and MLS likely need a couple of months to determine whether it’s realistic.

UM has told the Beckham camp that it needs a stadium with at least 40,000 seats to accommodate Hurricanes games; Beckham’s group initially has spoken of having 25,000 seats. UM also would need the stadium to have sufficient parking, large enough locker-rooms and enough suites.

Though Beckham likes the idea, there are significant obstacles that could torpedo a UM/MLS shared facility. Perhaps the biggest: UM would need to negotiate to escape the 18 remaining years on its lease with Sun Life Stadium. It’s unclear how much Dolphins and stadium owner Stephen Ross would seek financially to permit UM to do that, or if he would allow it at all. UM has no idea because the matter has never been broached.

Another potential obstacle: Beckham must find a site big enough to accommodate a 40,000-seat stadium and the expected traffic. Also, if the site that’s determined to be best and most realistic for soccer isn’t suitable for college football, then the idea of UM playing there likely would be tabled.

“We’re interested enough in the potential of this to explore the possibility,” an MLS source said. And UM is very interested in hearing what Beckham’s group determines, according to a UM official.

UM isn’t unhappy at Sun Life but would be intrigued by the possibility of playing in a more cozy facility that’s closer to campus. UM is not interested in financing the stadium; that has not been discussed.

Beckham’s incentive to build a larger stadium to lure UM? Not only would his facility have more seats to accommodate larger soccer crowds, but Beckham would have a rent-paying marquee tenant playing there.

Beckham has said the stadium construction will be privately financed, but he hired lobbyists to seek a state sales tax rebate to help with costs.

Beckham's group and the city aren't sure how much the stadium will cost, and that will hinge partly on capacity. But costs of recent new MLS stadiums or planned ones have varied widely, from $84 million for the proposed 18,000-seat stadium in Orlando, to $95 million for a 22,000-seat facility in Houston, to $200 million for a 25,000-seat state-of-the-art stadium in Kansas City.

Among the sites under consideration, the one that might be best suited to accommodate a 40,000-seat stadium is the 36-acre PortMiami location, according to a Miami-Dade County official. But Beckham’s group hasn’t determined if that site is realistic for college football.

One concern is that many cruise ships depart in the afternoon, when UM plays many of its games. Conversely, most or all MLS games will be at night. Building a stadium on the PortMiami site would need county approval.

A proposed site west of Marlins Park likely would not be large enough to accommodate a 40,000 capacity, according to a county official.

A few county officials are aware of the possibility of UM sharing a stadium with MLS, but they are not involved in those discussions and haven’t been updated on that.

“Capacity hasn’t come up,” a county official said. “We’re still very early in the process. It’s an interesting idea.”

UM wants no fewer than 40,000 seats because it has about 30,000 season-ticket holders and allots 6000 seats for students and another 4000 to sell to the visiting team.

UM athletic director Blake James declined to comment. A spokesman for Beckham’s group declined to discuss the likelihood of building a stadium to accommodate UM, saying the group’s focus is “on identifying the right site for a soccer stadium.”

### Marlins Park remains the front-runner to host the Miami MLS team for a year while the proposed stadium is being built. But Marlins Park has been given no assurances.

### Asked if he will be involved in Beckham's group, LeBron James said Friday: "Right now we're not, but it's still open."

CHATTER

Don Shula --- who will join Tony Dungy, Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Curtis Martin on a Dolphins committee that will formulate a locker-room code of conduct --- says Dolphins veterans should no longer be permitted to make rookies pay for a $30,000 dinner at Prime 112, as they did with defensive rookies last season.

"That's ridiculous," Shula said. "It's not right. Why should they have to do that? Our rookie hazing was just playful stuff, but I don't remember any incident that was uncomfortable or out of line. This is carrying it too far. Everybody has to get back to common sense and don't do anything that causes any longterm harm or ill feelings."

### Though Rams offensive tackle Jake Long wasn’t on the Dolphins last season and wasn’t identified by name in Ted Wells’ report, a Dolphins player said it was disappointing Long never told Richie Incognito to stop acting the way he did toward Jonathan Martin and Nate Garner and others, because Incognito looked up to Long and might have taken it to heart. But at least Long didn’t harass Martin, unlike Mike Pouncey.

### Two Dolphins people dispute a CBS report that Joe Philbin will have a shorter leash on Ryan Tannehill and might play Matt Moore. But the Dolphins feel strongly that Tannehill must improve his chemistry with Mike Wallace. One Dolphins official said Tannehill can throw a ball anticipating where Brian Hartline will be, but cannot consistently with Wallace.

### Some analysts favor Indiana against Miami, such as Charles Barkley (who said the Pacers big men "own" the Heat), Tim Legler and P.J. Carlesimo.

But several lean toward the Heat advancing to a fourth consecutive Finals, including TNT's Shaquille O'Neal, Kenny Smith and Grant Hill (because "they've been there before"). NBA TV's Greg Anthony said: "Miami can get to a level where the Pacers are defensively. We don't know yet if the Pacers can get to the level offensively that Miami has shown this year."

And TNT's Steve Kerr, who predicted last summer Miami wouldn't emerge from the East, said off air: "I like the Heat's chances of getting to the Finals better than I did during the summer despite [their nine losses to losing teams]. To win a championship, they need to win only two difficult series. The first two will be a cakewalk. The Pacers' turnovers concern me."

### This week’s NFL Combine will be important for UM's Seantrel Henderson after drawing mixed reviews at the Senior Bowl.

"Great in practice, awful in interviews," said one NFL scout who met with him at the Senior Bowl. "He couldn't draw up formations. He just doesn't get it. Not very alert or aware. But he did very well in one-on-one drills and someone will take a shot at him in the second or third round."

### Please see the last post for 10 notes from Marlins Media Day on Saturday, as well as Saturday fallout over the Dolphins' locker-room scandal.

### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz   

Comments

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Randy Shannons' Agent

Stadium should be at Tropical Park for both sports.
IF UM isnt a 50% owner the whole idea is a nonstarter in my opinion. The bit about the cruise ships leaving and Canes playing most of their games during the afternoon is asinine. If Miami had their own stadium and an AD who wasnt in over his head they could dictate when they played

Noles

Dream on fanboy, UM is stuck at Sunlife for life. Even if this MLS/UM thing were to happen, why is UM asking for 40k seats, they can hardly get 10k to show up. And let's get real, 30k season tickets is nowhere near actual attendance. FIU says they have 12k season ticket holders, but can hardly get 5k to show up at games.

Mario's

Make them all play at Marlins Park if not raze Flagler dog track and make em play there dont cancel the poker though. Visiting team were so scared of playing in the small salwecera that we owned everybody. Even the brothers from the hood signed up to play for the U because they knew in the Spanish heart of Miami the wahoos would crap their pants and wait for some loco to say hello to my little friend.

Cane11

The Canes had their chance for a stadium at Tropical Park back in the 90's and blew it when they believed the lies that the City of Miami told them about upgrading the OB. They are now stuck in a long term contract at JRS who's new owner cares nothing about the U other than a rent payment. So, with that said, get over the idea of the U ever getting a stadium closer to campus, it's just not going to happen, just support them, wherever they play. Go Canes!

UMike

Noles...you're talking out of your hillbilly A*S...nice try on the 10,000 bulls*it...oh sure, FSU draws huge crowds, what ELSE is there to do in f**king Tallahassee, Southern Georgia when FSU is the ONLY SHOW IN TOWN, you Deliverance-family banjo playin' dirtbag!

The REAL FACT is that your NC will probably be taken away when the TRUTH comes about about your RAPIST QB...the facts are there and the girl's lawyer is not relenting...she's going after him like you won't believe....talking big cuz you finally won a championship, and had to sweat it out against a not-so-good Auburn team....keep talking trash, hillbilly boy. UM plays 21 miles from their stadium...students have to be bused to games...those are the facts...and, FSU fans don't have anything ELSE sport-wise to root for at the big HIGH SCHOOL in Southern Georgia, y'all f**king hillbilly a*s clowns up there...if I had to live in Tally, I'd slit my throat...it's "Alabama EAST"!!!

UMike

NOLES: I know most of you Free Shoes U. peeps can't read...but the article says that UM has 30,000 season ticket holders and allots 6,000 for students...so, your bulls*it about UM drawing 10K is as stupid as you hillbilly MF'ers up in Alabama East are.

Again, you won't be so smug when your RAPIST QB gets charged. You'll see. I know for a FACT that the girl's lawyer is going after the RAPIST like crazy...FSU...free shoes, gambling, getting answers to football players for exams = always a slap on the wrist....now, there will be no slap on the wrist when the truth comes out about your GOLDEN BOY being a TRUE RAPIST...now, be gone fairy boy, before I find out where you live.

Me too

Use eminent domain to seize Flagler. Build the stadium there.

johnnie j

How great would it be for the Canes to have their own (in part anyway)stadium.Unfortunately the UM folks never bought enough land there to begin with.Besides,that s prime real estate in that area and I m sure that was well known to everyone even back in Miami s early roots.That said the Marlins site is about the best area since there s no land available or near the University itself.Traffic would be a huge concern no matter where it would be anyway.The Tropical Park area also is interesting as it s not far either just west on Bird Road.Anyway I m glad Beckam is at least open to the idea of a multi-purpose stadium but it won t come cheap for University Officials when it comes time to negotiate a long term lease.Since Mr Ross can be so giving to his alma mater,Michigan just maybe there s a chance he ll act somewhat reasonably and allow the Canes a little slack to get out of their lease with Dolphin Stadium.Naturally there s alot of preliminary discussions to consider and financial and site considerations but EVERYTHING begins with an idea.So far,,,,,,since the old orange bowl has passed away now,,,,,there s always HOPE that new blood,new ideas,new energy,a new age can be developed.LOVE the idea nonetheless.GO CANES.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Mr. Jackson - where does that 40,000 number come from? Is that something the soccer people have thrown out to gauge UM's interest? Has UM simply said they're vaguely interested in hearing more or have they agreed that they would rather play in a 40,000 seat soccer stadium closer to Miami than a 70,000 seat football stadium further away?

They sell 50,000 tickets for even the crappy games (FAU, etc.), it boggles my mind that they would willingly forego at least 10,000 ticket sales a game in order to play in a stadium that still isn't theirs and isn't as nice as Joe Robbie in terms of everything you're looking for in a football stadium.

soccer is soccer... and... u are u

soccer and um football. are there 2 things that could be any more irrelevant in 2 years than those 2 ? 2 peas in a pod.

TheSergeantMajor

That blurb on Seantrel's sounds damning. We've heard similar in the past regarding UM player knowledge of the game at other positions by NFL scouts. Sam Shields comes to mind.

On that one in particular, I wonder what Art Kehoe's thinking?

don't u make me come up to Atlanta and beeyotch slap u......... i know where u live.

Posted by: UMike | 02/16/2014 at 06:11 AM

[]_[] get back to ur delusional homer cane cluck canespace playground []_[] f[]_[]cktard.

Barry Jackson

Lt. Lois: 40,000 is the number that UM has told MLS would be the minimum it would require to play there.

Tim

"They can hardly get 10k to show up" - Ignorant Noles

FAU game - 50,151 in attendance
UF game - 76, 968 in attendance
Savannah St - 42, 571 in attendance
Georgia Tech - 47, 008 in attendance
Wake Forest - 66, 160 in attendance
Virgina Tech - 49, 267 in attendance
Virginia - 44, 732 in attendance

Looks like 40k, for every home game, is feasible...especially with a stadium closer than Sun Life to campus. GTFOH NOLES.

Mariano G

If Port of Miami stadium feasible, it would be a huge boost for UM for an improved game day experience and, in turn, recruiting. Then still play the "big" games at JRS (FSU, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Gators when they play us again in 20 years or so). Does this make just too much sense?

jmike

Randy Shannons' Agent, you might be a little over your head in understanding the structure of the financing. This is a privately financed endeavor, the people putting up the financing will be the owners of the stadium. If UM doesn't put up any financing, guess what, they not only not own 50% of the stadium, they will won't own any percentage of the stadium. Please rename yourself Over My Head.

jmike

Lois where do you get that 50,000 number for FAU, that's just not right lol. And if you've ever gone to a UM game you know that most games attract much less than 50,000 fans. The NCAA has a minimum attendance rule that a stadium with 40,000 seats would satisfy. And remember the 40,000 seat proposal is a minimum, not a request for that size.

.333U felons

Randys agent... um doesnt play when they want....noone does . It all decided by television.

Rabblerouser

Excellent reporting Barry!
As always very informative. So hoping UM can get their own stadium. I believe it would help UM return to relevance.

Alan

Great move by Shalala to sign a 25 year lease with no escape clause to play at the morgue formerly known as Joe Robbie Stadium. Why fight for a local stadium when you can play 45 minutes from campus in another county, at a facility with zero energy or atmosphere? All hail her visionary leadership!

Silent Owl

Tim sorry to burst your naive bubble, but I was at the FAU game as I'm an OWL. Honestly I doubt there were 20k at the game.

Your number must be tickets "sold" (or donated to youth groups at a $.01 value so it can be tagged as "sold").

Randy Shannons' Agent

.3333U
Michigan plays almost all their games at Noon or 3:30 so yeah, its not all about TV. Schools who have an AD with a spine dictate when they want to play

Randy Shannons' Agent

jmike
Thanks for telling me "if you you dont pay for something you dont have any ownership stake in it" Gee you dont say? Glad you finally figured that out. You probably voted for the JRS public funding before you figured that concept out though.

UM could raise the $ for partial ownership if they deemed it important. The current "leadership" doesnt think it is though

KidKane


Miami needs at least 45,000 and with that size Beckham gets a concert venue as well.

Fact is FSU didn't sellout this season or any season in the last 10 years despite nothing else to do there. What a joke! Tallahassee isn't an affluent city, actually it's more akin to Southern Georgia, with a lousy climate cold, icy in the winter and hot, humid and buggy in the summer.


billb

Anything that get us out of that stadium that's miles from campus and just a morgue would be acceptable.

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