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Hopes for a Canes/Beckham Stadium Union on Ice....for now

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After a meeting in late May between outgoing University of Miami President, Donna Shalala, David Beckham’s investment group and Major League Soccer it appeared as though a potential joint venture for a stadium was moving forward. Fast forward nearly two months later and that no longer appears to be the case.

Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

Several news reports came out late last week that Beckham's group was moving forward with a proposal to build a soccer stadium near the old Orange Bowl site but conspicuously absent from those reports was a partnership with UM.  What is not known at this time is what caused UM to cool on the JV. Some have speculated the cost to escape its current deal with the Dolphins where the Canes with 17 years left on its lease at Sun Life Stadium (SLS). Others have though that UM's desire for the new facility to fit at least 40,000 seats vs. Beckham's wish for 25,000 was too big of an obstacle to overcome.  What we do know is that both Beckham and UM did not say unequivocally that the deal is dead, which leaves the door open, albeit a crack.

Shalala's successor Dr. Julio Frenk does not step into his new role until August 16th and likely will have higher priorities to deal with than a stadium partnership.  Accordingly, we'd expect to hear little out of the UM camp on this topic in the near term, especially as fall football camp is just around the corner.

There is, however, strong desire for an alternative to SLS by many in UM's athletic department along with public support from its alumni, boosters and fans (a petition started a few years back has received 7,787 signatures in favor of a Hurricanes stadium to date, with just a grass roots awareness effort). Many feel SLS is too far from campus, too sterile and far too large even with the reduction in seats underway.

There is also support from the Southern Legion MLS Supporters Club for a UM/MLS partnership should one be rekindled.   The Miami Beckham United Group, Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro and officials at UM could not be reached for a comment on whether or not they felt this partnership could in fact come back to the table.  University of Miami Athletic Director Blake James did however tell the Miami Herald on Friday that they will "always keep all options open."

Given the Marlins stadium controversy it is almost certain that there will be headaches for the MLS venture.  Having UM on board brings with it goodwill in the community.   Ultimately, MLS may need UM more than UM needs MLS to get a stadium deal done.   For now it's a waiting game and the Hurricanes at least have a place to play...until a better alternative presents itself.