Miami Offers Rent-Free Stadium

The movement to re-activate Miami as an MLS franchise has gathered steam in recent weeks, with several proposals to build a soccer-specific stadium being bandied about. Florida International University is attempting to get a leg up on the competition however, by offering use of their brand-new stadium RENT-FREE, an idea that has heads turning to southern Florida, perhaps away from Philadelphia and St. Louis.

Pete Garcia, athletic director at FIU, has suggested that a professional soccer team could use the Panthers' 18,000-seat stadium, which is set to open in September, at no charge. He is hoping that the campus' facility can become a choice venue for domestic and international matches in the future, since the Orange Bowl is shutting down.
"I basically told Major League Soccer that we'd do whatever it takes to get them here, even if we have to give them free rent," said Garcia. "I know the city of Miami is talking about building a $100 million soccer stadium with 25,000 seats, but by September 20, we will have an 18,000-seat stadium with 19 suites, lots of parking, and easy access from the Florida Turnpike. If the Miami deal falls through, we'd love to have MLS.

"We will become the perfect venue to host international tournaments, exhibitions, and pro matches," Garcia continued. "There are a lot of soccer fans in West Dade, and hosting games would be great exposure for FIU, plus we would benefit from the concessions and other game-day activities."

For their part, MLS has sent representative Dan Courtemanche to tour the venue, but the league's official stance remains that they would like to see a new $100 million stadium built instead.

"Our focus right now is working with the mayor of Miami and the city officials on the potential stadium at the Orange Bowl site," said Courtemanche. "We are still very interested in that project, and that is what we are focusing on."

1 comment:

Erick Perez said...

That is fantastic news...the new FIU venue would be great for soccer and the location is excellent!