It’s going to be a pivotal Election Day for MLS and David Beckham’s expansion team in Miami.
On Tuesday, voters will decide if Miami should allow Beckham and his partners to advance beyond the usual competitive bidding process and negotiate a 99-year lease with the city for the construction of a soccer stadium and adjacent commercial complex on what is now a city-owned golf course near Miami International Airport.
"I'm confident because I know we couldn't have done any more as team," Beckham told Univision. "I’m confident in the people of Miami. I’m confident in our fans, the people who have supported us from day one. I’m not a real estate developer. I’m not a politician. I can only speak from my experience in the game, I can speak from the heart and say this team that we have, the team that’s behind this team, is really passionate, really cares about the city, and really cares about the future of this team that we’re bringing to this city."
Inter Miami president and managing owner Jorge Mas also expressed confidence about the vote based in large part on the work the club has already put in.
“I’m very optimistic,” Mas said. “The one thing I’m very satisfied with is we’ve done everything we could have. We’ve spoken to the residents of the city of Miami. We’ve heard them. I think everything that this project is going to encompass is a reflection of great things we can do for our city.”
Mas pointed not only to a “great soccer stadium” but the jobs and fiscal benefits that the Miami Freedom Park complex would bring, with “zero cost to the taxpayer,” if voters choose yes on Miami Referendum 1 - #378. The proposal went to a public vote after the Miami City Commission passed the measure by a 3-2 decision in July.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has backed the project, telling a local TV station that “We feel very confident going into it.”
“I think it’s an iconic project,” Mas said. “It’s the first thing 50 million people coming into our city will see and it’s the last thing they’ll see when they leave. I think we have an opportunity to make history. I have a very, very good feeling over the election.”
The Inter Miami owners will hold an “Election Night Community Event” at Douglas Plaza with fans and media invited to watch the results come in.
"It's a big day for us," Beckham said. "Obviously it's been a long journey and one that's actually been an incredible journey for the last five years. But we're at this moment now where we're going to create something that's so special."
A big vote for San Diego’s potential MLS future is also on tap for today.