Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami releases stunning new preview of home stadium at Miami Freedom Park.
Miami, Fla. (Tuesday, April 9, 2019) – by Kenneth Russo
Miami has always been about the dream. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was no stranger to Miami. He liked Miami because of its promise and opportunity:
“We really look at Miami as the original dream, and try to go back to that notion — the promise of if you’re good and you do right in your life and you work hard, we all end up in Miami.”
Anthony Bourdain, 2015.
Inter Miami CF’s dream was shared in a little more detail today:
The club today released new renderings of its intended permanent home at Miami Freedom Park. Beginning with an image of a great white heron in its native South Florida habitat, the video transforms as the bird takes flight, transforming itself into a sweeping, majestic, laser-lighted canopy of the stadium. One glance makes it clear that this stadium will check all the boxes: the latest (presumably 5G) technology, beautiful sight lines, a massive wall of a supporters’ section, luxury suites, clubs and entertainment options before and after a match.
Prior to the vote in November, in which a majority of Miami city voters approved allowing the city to negotiate a lease of the land needed for building both the stadium and adjacent Miami Freedom Park, the words spoken were “this won’t just be a soccer stadium.” And they were right. This is a transformation, a vision, and the best is yet to come.
They call it “the beautiful game,” and in Miami the game won’t be the only thing they call beautiful. It takes a lot to get this town’s attention, and in Miami, sizzle and sexy are what sells. The new permanent home stadium for Inter Miami CF promises to deliver these attributes to an international fan base that is knowledgeable and passionate for fútbol.
A pure masterpiece, this stadium is the pièce de résistance befitting of MLS’ first global club.
Will There Be An Early Termination Of The Lease at SeatGeek Stadium?
According to the sports publication The Athletic, citing multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations, Chicago Fire and Major League Soccer are in discussions with the Village of Bridgeview to arrive at an early termination of the lease with the municipality, thus allowing the team to move out of SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois.
The discussions began last year and are ongoing, and it is unclear what the potential price of the buyout would be.
Some details of the deal first emerged on social media via the Twitter account of a Fire fan, James Vlahakis. From 2013 to 2016, he worked as outside counsel for the Fire while at the firm Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP. His Twitter activity suggests that he is a passionate fan who is sometimes critical of the team’s management.
The Fire Soccer Club are currently in the fourteenth year of a stadium lease that was signed in 2005 and runs through the end of the 2036 season. An agreement to buyout the lease would allow the Fire to relocate to Soldier Field in downtown Chicago.
The club refused to provide any details, telling The Athletic: “We don’t comment on social media speculation from individuals outside the organization.”
One source indicated that Chicago billionaire and Fire minority owner Joe Mansueto has been instrumental in these negotiations. It is always difficult to obtain any financial date from the respective clubs making up MLS, which is organized as a limited liability company. It is known however that Fire majority owner Andrew Hauptman sold a 49 percent ownership stake to Mansueto for an undisclosed amount in 2018.
Mansueto is an influential player in the Chicago commercial real estate arena, having bought the historic Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago for $255 million last year.
Further evidence of the team’s desire to leave Bridgeview comes from the fact that public records show the Fire have been active in dealings with the City of Chicago in recent months. For example, lobbyist filing data shows that, “Chicago Fire Soccer Holdings, LLC” paid three lobbyists from the firm Fletcher, O’Brien, Kasper & Nottage a total of $72,000 for activities between October 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018, seeking administrative action from the mayor’s office regarding “real estate matters.”
The Fire also declined to comment on the lobbyist activity.
For this reason, escaping from the lease at SeatGeek Stadium would be an important boost in the team’s ability to reach new fans. The Fire’s stadium in Bridgeview is also not easily accessed via public transportation — it requires a train ride to Midway Airport followed by a bus ride from the airport to the stadium, a commute that takes over an hour from the city. It is also a traffic-filled 45-minute drive from most places in the city.
MLS is a party to the stadium lease, a practice that was commonplace with third-party leases in the early days of MLS, but is no longer a regular practice. Rumours circulated that other league owners will be contributing toward the buyout of the SeatGeek Stadium lease, but league sources said there are no plans for other team owners to contribute. Three separate sources familiar with ownership discussions said no such arrangement has been presented to owners of other MLS teams, and that it would be unlikely other teams would agree to such a plan.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated last month, MLS commissioner Don Garber hinted a move back to Soldier Field could be in the works for the Fire. The team played at Soldier Field from its inaugural season in 1998 through 2002, then again from 2003-06 after a brief hiatus during the NFL stadium’s renovations. SeatGeek Stadium opened midway through the 2006 season.
“We were playing in Soldier Field and we ended up going into a stadium that is not downtown, does not have the things around it that many of our other urban parks do,” Garbersaid on the Planet Futbol podcast. “And if things could work out properly maybe we end up back at Soldier Field at some point.”
MLS Commissioner Don Garber
But while moving into the city of Chicago would certainly help access a millennial demographic that has been vital to the growth of MLS around the country, it should not be considered a cure-all for a team that has struggled mightily on the field. The Fire have finished ninth or tenth in the Eastern Conference in four of the past five years, creating a mix of frustration and apathy even within its most diehard fanbase. And while the team has spent more on its on-field product, signing players like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic, it lacks in several areas of infrastructure and support, including training grounds and a scouting network.
The lease with the Village of Bridgeview imposes a significant restriction, one which prohibits the Fire from playing any MLS home games outside of Bridgeview, without the express permission of the Village. According to two sources, MLS commissioner Don Garber flew to the Chicago area to meet with Bridgeview mayor Steven Landek ahead of the MLS All-Star Game announcement in 2017 in hopes of securing a Chicago Fire regular season match at Soldier Field during that season. League officials held off on an announcement that the All-Star game would be held at Soldier Field in order to pair that announcement with the Fire game, and team and league officials were optimistic a deal had been struck. In the end, however, Bridgeview declined to allow the game.
Possible Rebrand Also In The Works?
“We’re still in that process, and I think refresh is the word we like.”
Nelson Rodriguez, Fire GM
Multiple sources confirmed meetings have also been held regarding a potential team rebranding, though no decision has been finalized on whether that will include a new team name. Vlahakis’ tweet indicated that the Fire would rebrand as “Chicago City Football Club” as part of the move back downtown.
Fire general manager and president Nelson Rodriguez said on the record in a roundtable discussion with reporters last summer that the team has considered a brand “refresh.”
“We’re just still in that process, and I think refresh is the word we like,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not an overhaul, it’s not a major change. It’s an iconic badge. There’s a lot of great history at the club, a lot of great work from people that came before (COO John Urban) and I arrived, which we think should be honored. We will continue to honor that, but times change, there needs to be a little bit of an evolution and I think we need to hone in on what our voice is for today, and that’s what we’re working on.”
The Fire, which won MLS Cup in its inaugural season in 1998, holds a historic place in the league’s history. Conversely, the brand has almost no resonance in the city of Chicago, where game days are mere blips on the radar of most city residents and bigger media outlets in the market do not provide regular coverage. That lack of market penetration, paired with the dreadful management of a franchise that has made the playoffs just twice in the last nine seasons, has created a massive problem for the league as a whole. MLS, which is eyeing a new media rights deal in 2021, needs to remedy its lack of interest in the third-largest media market in the country.
A Fire rebrand would follow the model set by the MLS franchise in Kansas City, which rebranded from the “Kansas City Wizards” to “Sporting Kansas City” in 2010. That rebrand, paired with a new stadium opened in the summer of 2011, has been one of the success stories in MLS. That rebrand and new stadium, however, was buoyed by the consistent success of the team and charismatic coach and Sporting Director Peter Vermes, supported by a large infrastructure investment on the part of the investors owning the team. Kansas City’s MLS franchise, which won an MLS Cup as the Wizards in 2000, stands out as one of the league’s few “original 10” teams that experience success in their home market.
Before And After: Kansas City Rebrand
Other MLS original clubs have struggled to keep pace with recent expansion teams, including two other teams that have rebranded: FC Dallas, originally the Dallas Burn, and the New York Red Bulls, originally the New York/New Jersey Metrostars. The Red Bulls, while a success on the field and with a top-class stadium, have not seen that translate in its attendance figures. Other MLS original franchises that are struggling to make a big impact within their market include the New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids and Columbus Crew. Columbus nearly relocated before being saved by new ownership, while Colorado and New England, like Chicago, have struggled in most seasons over the past decade; New England has just three playoff appearances since 2010, Colorado has four, and the Fire have just two.
Those on-field struggles have showed themselves at the gate. The Fire has an average announced attendance of 15,723 over the past nine seasons, and has averaged just 11,029 in three home games this season, the worst in MLS—just below Colorado and New England.
A chance to get back into the city could provide a jumpstart, but negotiations with Bridgeview have been tricky in the past. One source pointed to a recent example to show that no deal is done until the papers are signed.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Thursday, March 14, 2019) – Kenneth Russo
Inter Miami CF wins!
In the end, City of Fort Lauderdale commissioners agreed that there was only one choice. On Tuesday, they unanimously selected the bid by Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, and David Beckham’s vision for bringing the club’s permanent training centre and home to its youth academy to Fort Lauderdale.
Included in the club’s plan is a new Lockhart Stadium, which will serve as Internacional’s home stadium in 2020 and 2021, as well as the permanent home of the club’s USL One affiliate.
Marlins Park, Hard Rock Stadium, and Riccardo Silva Stadium on the campus of Florida International University had all been considered as temporary venues, but Inter Miami officials opted for Lockhart.
If all goes as planned, the construction of an 18,000-seat modular stadium, complete with a shade canopy, at 1350 NW 55 St in Fort Lauderdale, should begin in July, making it ready for Inter Miami CF’s first season. Next year’s MLS calendar has yet to be revealed, but traditionally the league begins play on the first full weekend in March, which next year would mean Saturday, March 7, 2020.
Highlighting the Difference in Government Efficiency
Inter Miami only placed a bid on the city-owned property in Fort Lauderdale at the end of January. In less than two months, they presented their proposal and obtained the approval of city commissioners to negotiate a lease. Meanwhile, in Miami… More than four years passed between David Beckham’s initial announcement in 2014 that he had chosen Miami as the city for his MLS team, before he and his partners finally were able to make progress. And the process in Miami is still not complete, despite a large approval (over 60%) by voters last November to transform Melreese Golf Course into the home stadium for Inter Miami CF as well as a the creation of Miami’s largest park (Miami Freedom Park), public soccer fields, a technology hub, office, hotel and entertainment space.
Fort Lauderdale Commissioners Saw the Value
After hearing proposals by both Inter Miami and a competing bid by FXE Futbol, city commissioners voted to rank the Inter Miami CF proposal higher than the FXE Futbol proposal, and the commission voted Tuesday night to allow negotiations to begin.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis and Commissioner Ben Sorensen were understandably happy with the decision by Inter Miami to invest in the city, an investment estimated to be worth $30 to $60 million. “It’s a great day for Fort Lauderdale,” Commissioner Sorensen said.
During the round-table meeting, comissioners watched animated renderings on a flat-screen television of visions by architecture firms hired by Inter Miami CF, a Major League Soccer franchise, and FXE Futbol, which was hopeful of being granted a United Soccer League franchise to compete in the USL Championship (2nd Division). However, FXE Futbol had not actually submitted a formal application to USL, per USL sources. They instead decided to wait until obtaining the right to negotiate with the City of Fort Lauderdale before applying. They also disclosed during hearings that they would be seeking additional investors as part of their bid for the project and USL franchise.
Both of the plans involved demolishing the abandoned Lockhart Stadium, which first opened in 1959 and was named after a former Fort Lauderdale commissioner. The adjacent former baseball stadium will also be demolished. Inter Miami CF’s designs were created by Manica Architecture, which specialises in the design of international sport venues. Inter Miami CF’s vision will be entirely privately funded.
South Florida Soccer Icon Weighs In
Ray Hudson, 63, was in his usual ecstatic form. The former English soccer player has good memories at the now abandoned Lockhart Stadium. After playing for the Newcastle United, he moved to South Florida in 1977 to play for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
The midfielder played for them until 1992, and then went on to coach the Miami Fusion, a former MLS team based out of Lockhart Stadium. He now works as a commentator on beIN Sports covering La Liga games and radio host for SiriusXM FC 157.
Commitment to Fort Lauderdale is Long-Term
In a non-solicited proposal originally submitted to Fort Lauderdale on January 28, 2019, Inter Miami committed to privately fund the design, development, construction, maintenance, and operation of a state-of-the-art soccer training complex that includes an 18,000-seat stadium, as well as several community facilities, including a public park, at the 65-acre site. The total investment in Fort Lauderdale will be on the order of $60 Million, half of which will go into building the new Lockhart.
Mas said recently he was “very excited” about his team’s proposal to develop the publicly owned Lockhart Stadium grounds in Fort Lauderdale as a state-of-the-art training site that would double as a youth-development academy.
“We’re going to build a new stadium there. It’s not a refurbishment of Lockhart. It will be a new stadium for a (second-tier) USL team and a soccer-centric academy. We’ll be able to host tournaments and other games there.”
– Jorge Mas, Managing Owner, Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami.
Even after Inter Miami CF moves to Miami Freedom Park adjacent to Miami International Airport, Inter Miami CF promises not to abandon the property. The team says it is applying for a USL franchise. USL forms the second and third tier of US Soccer. Inter Miami plans to run a club competing in USL League One. (Third Tier) This club will remain permanently at Lockhart and will allow locals to see players develop before hopefully being selected to the senior squad.
The team also said that the site will be used for the franchise’s youth academy. It will be the longest distance from the home stadium to an academy in MLS, but this only underscores the huge amount of territory that South Florida spans.
“Our ownership group has spent months carefully discussing venue options to launch Inter Miami CF’s inaugural season in MLS, while we build Miami Freedom Park,” said Inter Miami CF Sporting Director Paul McDonough. “Ultimately we decided to expand our vision for the Fort Lauderdale project to launch our first two seasons in the League the right way. Our goal is to provide fans with the most captivating soccer atmosphere and gameday experience, and we did not believe this would be possible at the venues we evaluated.”
Ability to Attract Talent To The Academy A Factor
The Sporting Director also pointed out that having an Academy in the middle of the urban South Florida area made good sense. “I think the decision for us was: We want to be South Florida’s team, and our youth territory stretches all the way south from Homestead, all the way north to Palm Beach,” McDonough said. “So we figured that if we wanted to capture the best players for our developmental system, we thought that this site gave us the best opportunity.
“Yeah, the history of everything that’s happened at that site was really neat, but I think it was really important that we captured the best players — but also that we are South Florida’s team.”
Aside from the soccer-performance facilities and fields, Inter Miami plans to build several public features, including parks and soccer fields. The site could also host concerts, high-school sports, and other events. The team said there will be no commercial development on the property. Fort Lauderdale will only have to maintain the four community soccer fields being built. Inter Miami CF will maintain its seven soccer fields it intends to build.
The next step in this process will be for the City and Inter Miami CF to agree on the terms on the long-term lease. Building permits will also need to be procured. The plan is to begin construction in July, 2019.
Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami Hires Javier Morales to Team’s Academy
Miami, FL (February 22, 2019) –
Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (“Inter Miami CF”) has hired former Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas star Javier Morales to the team’s Academy coaching staff.
“We are thrilled to welcome Javier to our club. He has played at the highest level, both in MLS and internationally, and his experience will be invaluable for our Academy players as we build our foundation and begin play later this year. We are excited to work with him in the next phase of his career as a coach.”
Sporting Director Paul McDonough
Morales joins Miami after working as the U-13 Academy Coach with FC Dallas. In his one season in that role, he led the youth team to an international championship at the 2018 Copa Rayados Internacional tournament in Mexico.
He earned the nickname “El Maestro” as one of the best playmakers in MLS, Morales spent 10 seasons with Real Salt Lake, from 2007-16, where he was a star performer for head coach Jason Kreis (who is also on the Inter Miami CF coaching staff) and played on the 2009 MLS Cup Championship Team. He also appeared as a Finalist on numerous occasions including the 2011 Concacaf Champions League, 2013 MLS Cup and 2013 U.S. Open Cup.
Did You Know? Morales finished his career with FC Dallas in 2017, becoming a member of the elite “50-50 club” designated for those MLS players who have been credited with 50 goals and 50 assists, becoming the 17th player in MLS history to accomplish the feat.
A native of Lomas de Zamora, Argentina (b. Jan 10, 1980) Morales played for Lanús and Arsenal de Sarandí, as well as Newell’s Old Boys and Instituto de Cordoba, before making his move to MLS.
Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami Anuncia Llegada de Javier Morales a la Academia del Equipo
Miami, FL. (viernes, 22 de febrero de 2019) –
Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami anunció hoy la contratación de Javier Morales como entrenador de la Academia del equipo.
“Estamos emocionados al darle la bienvenida a Javier al club. Javier ha jugado en grandes clubes tanto en la MLS como a nivel internacional, y su experiencia será muy beneficiosa para los jugadores de la academia conforme vamos construyendo los cimientos de la misma, con vista a jugar este mismo año.”
Paul McDonough, Director Deportivo del Inter Miami CF.
Morales llega al Inter Miami del FC Dallas, donde el año pasado fue entrenador del equipo Sub-13. De la mano de Morales, el equipo se coronó campeón del torneo internacional 2018 Copa Rayados que se celebró en México.
Llegó al FC Dallas en 2017. Con Dallas acabó su carrera como un miembro del “club 50-50” que alberga a aquellos jugadores de MLS que han sido acreditados con 50 goles y 50 asistencias. Es el decimoséptimo jugador en la historia de la MLS en conseguir este logro.
Apodado “El Maestro” por ser uno de los mejores jugadores creativos la MLS, Morales jugó 10 temporadas con el Real Salt Lake (2007 al 2016) bajo la batuta de Jason Kreis ganando la Copa MLS en el 2009. También fue finalista en torneos como la Liga de Campeones de Concacaf en 2011, la Copa MLS en 2013 y el U.S Open Cup en 2011.
En su carrera en la MLS, Morales jugo un total de 255 partidos, anotando 50 goles y marcando 83 asistencias.
Antes de unirse al RSL, Morales jugó en su nativa Argentina para el Club Atlético Lanús, el Arsenal de Sarandí, así como de Newell´s Old Boys y el Instituto Córdoba.
Miami, FL (Friday, February 15, 2019) by Kenneth Russo –
On Wednesday of this week, the 2019 MLS Primary Transfer Window, allowing clubs to now officially register their offseason additions. The 2019 window is open from February 13 until May 7 for transfers in to MLS Clubs.
Persuant to FIFA regulations, an International Transfer Certificate (ITC) is a requirement when completing an international transfer of a player. MLS teams are able to request International Transfer Certificates (ITC) from players’ former clubs to complete signings, loans and transfer deals.
With respect to outbound transfers, clubs may transfer or loan their players to non-MLS clubs at any time, subject to the transfer window of the recipient club’s national federation and subject to the consent of the player.
Major League Soccer maintains an official transactions page and transfer tracker; links are here:
UEFA the first of soccer’s six continental governing bodies to operate an OTT service.
Miami, FL (Monday, February 12, 2019) by Kenneth Russo –
European soccer’s governing body will launch its own over-the-top (“OTT”) streaming platform in the next six months. Once the platform is launched, it will make UEFA the first of soccer’s six continental governing bodies to operate an OTT service.
UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin revealed this while speaking with the media after his re-election for a new four-year term as UEFA’s top executive. Čeferin confirmed that the service will initially show women’s and youth soccer matches, as well archive content and behind-the-scenes footage from matches.
However, the prospect of having the UEFA Champions League matches on the platform is unlikely until 2021 at the earliest, given the governing body’s existing contracts with broadcasters around the world.
“By putting respect, hope and solidarity at the heart of our strategy, we will make football more accessible for fans, all fans across the planet,” said Čeferin, speaking at UEFA’s annual congress in Rome. “This is one of the main challenges for the coming years. “This is why I am pleased to announce that UEFA will be launching its OTT platform in the next six months. We are fully aware that a revolution is under way and are in the process of agreeing historic partnerships with the world’s leading companies in this field.”
Theodore Theodoridis, UEFA’s secretary general, added that the service should be available by June, indicating that the governing body will look for ways to include its flagship competitions on the platform when its existing rights deals expire.
“Now, we don’t know what the future will tell,” said Theodoridis. “But, we have to be ready for the future and the creation of this platform will solidify UEFA in this case; and as of 2021, where our current deal, our current rights expire, together with the clubs, we will see the possibility, in certain territories, of having some premium live matches.
“Also, as of 2022, with the national associations, [it will be] the same because we have a difference of one year in the cycle of TV rights between club football and national association football. But together, we will decide where and if we are to include some premium live content.”
The news of UEFA’s initiative to launch an OTT platform first emerged in September, when the organisation’s marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein told Spanish outlet Palco23 that the governing body wanted to give more airtime to categories which do not benefit from as much exposure as men’s soccer.
In the United States and Canada, popular leagues such as the NBA, the NFL and NHL all have streaming subscription services that show live games. At the same time, television continues to pay higher amounts to acquire rights to show games. With the continued development of connected devices and their growing popularity versus traditional means of viewing, can we simply envision UEFA engaging in direct commercialisation to football fans through exclusive subscriptions, bypassing the intermediaries?
L’UEFA se prépare à lancer sa plateforme de streaming OTT
Miami, FL (lundi, le 12 février 2019) par Kenneth Russo –
UEFA lancera sa propre plate-forme de streaming over-the-top (OTT) au cours des six prochains mois.
Le Président de l’UEFA, Aleksander Čeferin, a confirmé que le service diffusera dans un premier temps les matchs de football pour les femmes et les jeunes, ainsi que le contenu des archives et les images des coulisses des matchs.
Après sa réélection à la tête de l’UEFA la semaine dernière, Aleksander Čeferin a fait quelques annonces stratégiques sur les prochaines années de son mandat.
L’un des principaux objectifs du président de l’UEFA est de rendre le football plus accessible à travers le monde, notamment grâce au numérique.
Toutefois, il est peu probable que l’UEFA Champions League soit disponible sur la plate-forme avant 2021 au plus tôt compte tenu des contrats en vigueur entre l’instance dirigeante et les radiodiffuseurs du monde entier. «En plaçant le respect, l’espoir et la solidarité au cœur de notre stratégie, nous rendrons le football plus accessible aux fans, qu’ils soient fans de la planète», a déclaré Čeferin, lors du congrès annuel de l’UEFA à Rome. «C’est l’un des principaux défis des prochaines années.»
« Je suis heureux de vous annoncer que l’UEFA lancera, dans les six prochains mois, sa plateforme OTT » a déclaré Ceferin depuis Rome. « Une révolution est en marche. Nous en avons pleinement conscience et nouons des partenariats historiques avec les groupes mondiaux leaders du domaine. […] Comme vous le savez, nous avons déjà commencé à aller dans cette direction grâce à un accord de sponsoring avec le groupe Alibaba. Ce partenariat est plus qu’un simple accord de sponsorship. C’est un accord qui ouvre sur de nouveaux horizons, comme la création d’un centre d’excellence sur les nouvelles technologies dans le football ou des projets communs de commerce électronique. »
Reste à savoir si, à terme, l’offre digitale de l’UEFA proposera les compétitions majeures comme la Champions League, l’Euro ou encore la Ligue des Nations. Surtout, une offre de contenus premium peut-elle être compatible avec la vente de droits TV aux chaînes, business qui représente la majorité des revenus de l’UEFA ?
Aux USA, les principales ligues comme la NBA, la NFL ou encore la NHL proposent des abonnements permettant de suivre l’intégralité des rencontres depuis une application. En parallèle, les télévision continuent de payer des montants toujours plus importants pour acquérir quelques matchs. Avec le développement des appareils connectés, peut-on tout simplement envisager que l’UEFA commercialise directement auprès des fans de football des abonnements en exclusivité en se passant d’intermédiaires?
“We don’t feel at this time that Marlins Park is the ideal fit for us.” Jorge Mas, Inter Miami CF Managing Owner
Miami, FL (Thursday, February 7, 2019) by Kenneth Russo –
Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami’s proposal to use Marlins Park as a temporary home will not be in the best interests of the Miami Marlins or Inter Miami CF.
Marlins Director of Operations Chip Bowers indicates that the baseball team does not feel their facility works for Inter Miami because the baseball season overlaps with that of Major League Soccer, which plays a March through October calendar. “We’ve had some conversations with MLS Miami and Jorge Mas and his team,” he said. “Very positive. Been very diligent. Both sides, to each party’s credit, has been really focused on making sure this is the right operational fit. I think the reality is, we’ve both realized, it probably isn’t.”
Bowers said the concurrent MLS and MLB seasons was a major concern.
“I think there’s some challenges having a 17-, 18-game soccer schedule simultaneous to a baseball schedule that falls on the exact same calendar,” he said. “The field would really take a beating. There’s a lot of operational issues that go along with it that would make it really difficult for us to realize.”
Jorge Mas, Managing Owner of Inter Miami CF said: “Frankly, we have a preferred site. We’re going to be making an announcement on that late February, early March, which I think will be great for our fans, for our team and our sponsors. We don’t feel at this time that Marlins Park is the ideal fit for us.” There is still a possibility Inter Miami CF will play a few games at Hard Rock Stadium during the first season in 2020.
Using Hard Rock Stadium however, as an exclusive temporary home is also looking doubtful. Though officials from RSE Ventures declined comment, it appears they also do not feel it is feasible to provide a temporary home to Inter Miami because of spring conflicts with the Miami Open Tennis Tournament that is now housed at the stadium, and fall conflicts with the Miami Dolphins and University of Miami Hurricanes.
Using a baseball stadium to play soccer is never the best option for the simple reason that the sightlines are terrible. The only baseball stadium in the United States that is used for MLS is Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, which has been the home of New York City FC since the club’s inception while NYCFC seeks a permanent stadium site. The difference in New York City is that the Yankees are investors in the soccer team, giving them incentive to make the shared arrangement work. Nevertheless, the conversion from baseball to soccer pitch and back is an expensive, three-day process.
“There’s only one other facility that has done it, and that’s Yankee Stadium with New York FC. The difference there is there’s an equity piece with the Yankees and that particular team,” Bowers said. “There’s a million-dollar-a-game commitment by the team to the Yankees to overcome some of those operational challenges, none of which we think is really in the cards here given the conversations we’ve had with MLS Miami.”