For a sports team owner, pinning the hopes for a new stadium on the voters can be very risky. There are many variables and even if a stadium plan is solid and privately funded, there can still be opposition for a variety of reasons.
David Beckham, who has been trying to build a stadium in Miami for the past four years, had his stadium site plan put to a referendum and let the voters decide. While a loss would’ve likely meant going back to square one with a different site, Miami voted to approve the Miami Freedom Park proposal for his MLS team, Inter Miami CF, with nearly 60 percent approval.
The park will transform a private golf course into a public park along with hotels, an office space with a shopping center, and a 25,000 seat soccer specific stadium with a training facility for the team.
Beckham and Jorge Mas celebrated this big win, and it is a big win, but it’s far from certain that they will get their stadium. The group will now need to negotiate a lease for this land with approval from four of five Miami city commissioners, and winning that will be even tougher than winning the referendum. Two of the five have publicly expressed strong opposition to the project for a variety of reasons, and at least one of them will need to be convinced between now and the time they vote.
Considering the voters approved this referendum, maybe that will convince the opposing city commissioners to change their mind, considering they were voted in by the public. But while Beckham and Inter Miami can celebrate now, it’s far from over for them.