MIAMI – Twenty-twenty.
That clear. That succinct.
As first reported by the Miami Herald, MLS Commissioner Don Garber confirmed Monday that David Beckham's Miami expansion team will begin play in 2020 in a temporary venue. Their privately funded stadium opening is expected to follow in 2021.
"They've got work to do to find a temporary location," Garber said at a media roundtable following the day's public presentation. "Three years ago, four years ago, we never would have even considered it. We were very hesitant to play in temporary venues.
"But we saw what happened in Orlando and Atlanta. Now with this group, we've got confidence in them. I think this team could launch temporarily, have that momentum and then move into a smaller stadium. Four years ago, it was one of the things that slowed us down."
The driving force behind that confidence, as both league and team executives readily acknowledged, has been the whirlwind addition of brothers Jorge and José Mas, the Miami-based leaders of telecommunications and construction giant MasTec. Jorge Mas, who delivered an impassioned speech during the staged portion of the day's events, later discussed the group's approach to the staggered start.
"In 2021, our stadium," he said. "But for 2020, where we play? Listen, there's other sites: FIU [Riccardo Silva Stadium], Marlins Park, you've got Hard Rock [Stadium], you've got other venues. Do we stick to one venue? Do we do multiple venues? These are ideas we're discussing.
"I've had conversations, we're going to do something great. I came up with the idea of holding games in different places so people can see the team. But there's nothing concrete. There's no decision made. The 2020 decision was only made in the last few days."
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said the team was determined to "kick the ball" in 2020, and then leverage all technological options to deliver a "fascinating" stadium after that. He noted there’s also the academy to think of – from site planning to organizational infrastructure – as well as business development and roster building.
"I think we have our hands full for the next two years," Claure said. "We have a great team of owners, we're all winners, we all want to have a winning team. We're going to do everything we can to make people in this city proud of what they have.
"But we also have global ambitions. There are people who follow David Beckham in every country in the world, and we have one of the world's most powerful business persons in [co-owner Masayoshi Son, SoftBank's Founder and CEO]. We're all in. I want to make sure that we enjoy today – it's a day of celebration. But tomorrow, we start work."
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