Team Beckham eyes Miami stadium site by the bay

By Paul Kennedy

You can't say David Beckham doesn't think big.

The Miami Herald reported Tuesday that the group he's assembling to obtain an MLS expansion team is looking at the southwest corner of Dodge Island, home to PortMiami, as a site for the club's permanent soccer stadium.

The Philadelphia Union's PPL Park overlooks the Delaware River, but Team Beckham's stadium on Biscayne Bay would instantly become the most spectacularly situated venue in MLS.

The long-term issue of a permanent home for a Miami team is believed to be the toughest the investor group faces. It has looked at 30 potential sites in South Florida.

Commercial development is also being contemplated on part of PortMiami, an important seaport for the many cruise ships entering and departing Miami and cargo headed to and from the Americas.

Beckham Brand Limited is believed to seek a private location in an urban setting for its stadium. The PortMiami site is owned by Dade County, which would require Beckham's group to reach a lease agreement with the county. Public financing of sports venue projects is hugely unpopular in South Florida.

MLS PLAYOFF RATINGS. MLS's playoff television ratings were a mixed bag through the first leg of the conference finals: up 46 percent from last year's ratings on NBCSN but down 31 percent on ESPN/ESPN2.

2013: 168,000 (5)
2012: 115,000 (7)

2013: 260,000 (3)
375,000 (4)

MLS aired all of the first 12 playoff games in 2012 on one of the NBC or ESPN networks -- one game had to be switched from NBC to NBCSN because the snowout in New York delayed the start of the Eastern Conference finals by a day.

This year, only 10 of the 12 first games aired on one of the NBC or ESPN networks. (More air time was available in 2012 on NBCSN as the NHL, its most popular live programming, was on strike in the fall.)

BIG NUMBERS ON UDN. Sunday's Tigres-Club America playoff game on UDN averaged 842,000 viewers, making it the most-viewed Liga MX match this season on UDN and the second most-viewed telecast ever on UDN.
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